Peconic River alligators
Four baby alligators were pulled from the Peconic River on Friday, April 19, 2013 (DEC)

Four baby alligators were pulled from the Peconic River on the East End on Friday morning, six months after 9 more baby gators were found in a 6-week span on Long Island.

A Manorville man reported spotting one of the gators during his routine morning visit to the Connecticut Avenue canoe launch at 8 a.m., according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. DEC officers responded, caught the two-foot long gator with a catch pole, then spotted three more gators nearby, authorities said.

“Alligators released into Long Island waters have become an all too common occurrence in recent years,” DEC Regional Director Peter Scully said. “Individuals who attain these animals often find themselves incapable of caring for them as they grow, and they ultimately release them into the waters of Long Island where they are unable to survive and may pose a risk.”

The incident comes a week before the DEC, Suffolk County SPCA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are scheduled to hold an illegal reptile and amphibian amnesty day on LI in which people can turn in the animals without fear of arrest.

Alligators are illegal to own as pets in the state of New York. Those who use them for exhibition, research or educational purposes require a DEC permit.

The DEC officers captured and secured the four latest gators and taped their jaws shut. They were taken to DEC’s Regional Headquarters in Stony Brook and will later be sent to the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead.

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The alligators, whose sizes range from two to three feet—about the same size as the last batch found—and were lethargic because they were in cold water.

The amnesty day will held 12-4 p.m. Saturday, April 17 at Sweetbriar Nature Center, 62 Eckernkamp Dr., Smithtown.

“The purpose of this effort is to get these reptiles and amphibians into a controlled environment where they can be cared for properly,” Suffolk County SPCA Cheif Roy Gross said.  “People who are in possession of these animals unlawfully can turn them in to us without fear of prosecution. No one will be asked to give their name.”

Species that do not require permits, or are not threatened or endanger will not be accepted.

For more information about the amnesty program, call the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722, the DEC at 631-444-0250 or USFWS at 516-825-3950.

To report any environmental crime, please contact DEC’s toll free 24-hour TIPP hotline at: 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332) or Dispatch number at 631-444-0250. DEC keeps the identity of all TIPP callers confidential.


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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.