Allentown police confirmed local officials corralled an alligator around 7 p.m. Friday after hours tracking it through the Lehigh Canal. On Saturday morning, the reptile was on its way to a preserve in the Poconos.
Travis Benitez, 18, spotted the 31/2-foot gator while fishing in the canal. The teen said he’s been fishing in the canal since he was 7 years old and “never saw anything like that in my life.”
The gator prompted lots of activity. Police got a call around noon. City officials called for assistance from reptile and wildlife experts and tried to get the alligator to the bank. Keith Galvin of Galvin Wildlife Control of the Lehigh Valley tried to hook the alligator, which he says is a humane way to get the reptile out of the water.
“It won’t hurt him, he has alligator skin,” he said as he tried to capture the gator.
The rescue operation proved to be challenging because of the dense seaweed-like grass lining the water. Also, the alligator blended in with the canal with only its eyes rising above the water.
When a fisherman spotted an alligator in the Lehigh Canal in Allentown earlier this month, it made for a few tense hours as authorities tried to corral the carnivore. Keith E. Galvin Sr., of Galvin Wildlife Control in Upper Macungie Township, eventually was successful in hooking the gator and then turned it over to a reptile preserve in the Poconos.
A plastic crate, typically used to carry a large dog, was ready for the gator once it was corralled.
While Allentown won’t be confused for the Florida Everglades, there have been alligators captured in the waters of the Queen City in the past.
In September 2009, Allentown police, a city fire marshal and animal control officers captured a 6-foot alligator â€” believed to be the biggest ever found in the Lehigh Valley â€” sunning itself on the bank of the Jordan Creek
In the Spring of last year, an alligator was sighted in the Monongahela River in Western Pennsylvania.