April 26, 2011 / 3:13 PM / 8 years ago

Missing alligator returns home to nature center

LITTLE ROCK, Ark (Reuters) - Old alligators don’t travel far.

At least that was true in the case of a nine-foot, 20-year-old alligator that escaped earlier this month at the Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center in Pine Bluff, about 45 miles south of Little Rock.

Over the weekend, Arkansas Game and Fish officials spotted the male American alligator trying to cross the road near the nature center.

“He was really close to the nature center,” said Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Keith Stephens. “It was captured and returned to the nature center.”

The alligator, which was originally caught last year crossing another road near the nature center, was on display near the back of the center’s main building when it escaped.

Stephens said the alligator crawled up on a chain link fence, got his weight on it and pushed it down enough to get over it. He then crawled to the next fence and was able to get under a gate.

Officials had thought the alligator had escaped into the swamps and bayous that run behind the nature center and would not be found.

The alligator, which was a popular exhibit with visitors, is now in a trailer on the nature center grounds. It was not injured during the escape.

“We are putting up a taller, stronger fence to try and make sure it can’t climb up and push it over with its weight like it did last time,” Stephens said.

Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Jerry Norton

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