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"Reggie" the elusive alligator captured

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May 24

LOS ANGELES - "Reggie" the wily non-native reptile became a celebrity as it left a series of would-be gator wranglers empty-handed and then managed to disappear for 18 months until it was spotted again at the end of April.

The alligator came out of Harbor Regional Park's Lake Machado and was spotted on land about 3:30 p.m., around the time city and park officials and wildlife experts were meeting nearby to find a way to capture the reptile.

Park officials put a fence around the animal and Los Angeles Zoo reptile expert Ian Recchio put a hook around its neck.

Then one guy laid on top of him. He was thrashing around, so four or five guys held his head and tail to get him contained. They managed to put duct tape around his mouth.

Firefighters strapped the alligator to a board and loaded it into an animal control truck for transport to the zoo. The trip was tracked live by news helicopters during afternoon news programs. At one point the driver stopped and seemed to check to make sure the doors of the truck's animal compartments were still shut.

Recchio, senior animal keeper for reptiles, said the zoo could keep the alligator in quarantine from 30 to 60 days and introducing it into a pool of other alligators could take weeks.

Reggie was an illegal pet allegedly tossed into the 50-acre lake by a former policeman when it got too big.

When the 7-foot reptile was first spotted in the murky lake in August 2005, it became a sensation as crowds gathered to catch a glimpse. Locals named it Reggie, though it's not clear whether the reptile is male or female.

Before his death, even "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin offered to help the city nab Reggie.


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