Alligator sightings in Kalamazoo River prompt nature center closure at Albion College

Alligator sightings in Kalamazoo River prompt nature center closure at Albion College
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
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ALBION, Mich. (WILX) - It sounds like a story you’d see on the news in Florida, but a Michigan college’s nature center closed due to an alligator sighting.

It might come as a surprise to most, but yes, having an alligator as a pet in Michigan is legal.

“There’s not lots of alligators, there’s not animals that are breeding in our lakes and ponds, so people don’t have to worry about that,” said Director Lina Kelly, of Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary. “If you have an alligator as a pet there are places that you can take it to rather than just dumping it off into a local lake and pond and making it someone else’s problem.”

No one knows if that’s how the alligator got loose near Albion College’s Whitehouse Nature Center.

There were two reported sightings in the Kalamazoo River near the center over the weekend, forcing it to close as a precaution.

Kelly said if the gator isn’t caught by October, it will die.

“It’s not accustomed to our harsh weather conditions in Michigan and so that poor animal will just die,” said Smith. “But apparently if it’s being spotted in multiple locations and now it’s still on the same river but going more North, then it does seem like it’s traveling up and down the river.”

Even though it can’t survive in the wild, people need to stay away from it and not try to care for it.

“They should not feed it at all. So, the alligator is going to learn that you’re providing it food and he’s going to continue to follow you so unless there’s someone is going to purposely trap that alligator like animal control, leave the alligator alone,” said Kelly.

The nature center plans to reopen Tuesday while the search for the alligator goes on.


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