STARKE CO. — Indiana Conservation Officer Keith Wildeman was contacted by two fishermen who made a surprising discovery on the Kankakee River in Starke County Sunday. Jeff Brewer and his father Steve Brewer discovered a dead alligator stuck in a logjam about 2 miles downstream from the English Lake public access site. The Brewers had just launched their boat and were heading out for an afternoon of fishing when Jeff spotted the foot and tail of the alligator sticking out of the water. Using a landing net, Brewer was able to retrieve the dead gator from the water and returned to the boat launch with the carcass to meet with Officer Wildeman. The alligator measured 4 feet 7 inches and its mouth had been taped shut when Brewer made the discovery.
Officer Wildeman noted that the partially decomposed alligator appeared to be dead for awhile. The fact that its mouth was taped shut was an indication that the alligator is believed to be a pet that outgrew its welcome and was released unlawfully into the river. “There is no possibility that an alligator can survive Indiana’s winter climate, let alone with its mouth taped shut unable to feed,” said Officer Wildeman. This is believed to be an isolated incident. Anyone with any information about the alligator is urged to contact Indiana Conservation Officers at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.
According to Indiana State Law, crocodilians in possession over 5 feet in length require a permit from the IDNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. Individuals must meet strict guidelines and regulations to keep these types of animals in captivity.