Indiana animal sanctuary’s missing alligator recovered in neighborhood retention pond

A three-foot-long alligator that went missing from the Indiana Wild animal sanctuary three weeks ago was recovered after being spotted in a nearby neighborhood retention pond, the nonprofit announced Thursday. 

The alligator, Bert, is an ambassador for Woodburn-based Indiana Wild, with his likeness centered in the logo of the header on the nonprofit’s Facebook page. Indiana Wild Manager Beth Woods explained how the organization got Bert back in a video on said Facebook page.

“We got the call today, it took about an hour to catch him. … He came up, grabbed a [frozen] mouse from me, just couldn’t get him close enough,” Ms. Woods explained — another person, with the aid of a net, eventually helped her extricate Bert from the retention pond.

Ms. Woods also reiterated that Bert was not a threat in the time he was out and about, given his small stature and unwillingness to eat larger things, like children or pets, that would not fit in his mouth.

Ms. Woods had been worried that Bert would get shot, telling WANE-TV that it is “everyone’s God-given right that if an animal comes onto their property, they can do that.”

It is still not known how Bert, a former housepet, was able to get out of his enclosing pond, which is surrounded by a four-foot high fence with an one inch by five inch overhang.

“It was discovered the side gate at the time was latched but not locked. It is possible someone stole him, but we have no idea,” Ms. Woods explained to WANE-TV.

Ultimately, employees of Granite Ridge Builders working near a retention pond in an under-development neighborhood spotted Bert.

“We weren’t expecting to see that,” Nathan Bidlack, a Grant Ridge Builders employee who saw Bert and called for help, told WPTA-TV.

Now, Bert is back at the sanctuary with added security in his enclosure, including cameras.

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