Authorities were alerted to the scaly new resident’s presence in the popular city park via social media on Tuesday.
“During an early morning shoot we encountered an alligator,” Chicago resident Rencie Horst-Ruiz said on Facebook. “YES! AN ALLIGATOR AT THE HUMBOLDT PARK LAGOON!!” Within hours, Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that situation was well in hand.
Unusual news day. We've rcvd reports of a possible alligator in Humboldt Park lagoon. Weve notified animal control but have not confirmed this is a legitimate call as of yet. Ofc. Michelle Tannehill is responding to give general safety tips should this be a legitimate incident. pic.twitter.com/RKxLEDnShP
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) July 9, 2019
“We’ve independently confirmed the alligator is in the lagoon and state reptile specialists say it’s between 4 and 5 feet long,” the Chicago police spokesman said. “The reptile will be humanely trapped tonight and relocated to a zoo for veterinary evaluation.”
Spokeswoman for Chicago Animal Care and Control Jenny Schlueter speculated that the alligator may have been a pet released into the park after growing too large, similar to those found in the Chicago River in 2011. She is likely right; the Chicago climate is hostile to alligators, who prefer the balmy weather of states such as Florida to the northern “Windy City.”
— HPGator (@GatorHp) July 9, 2019
Whatever his origin, Chicago accepted him with open arms. #HumboldtGator #Gatorwatch hashtags sprung up, and someone started an “HP Gator” parody account on Twitter. “I’ve never seen more law enforcement in
#HumboldtPark,” the creator tweeted.