So there’s been another alligator spotted in a Manhattan creek.
That’s right, another one. And no, this one isn’t the unaccounted-for gator that was stolen last month.
For those who aren’t familiar with the story, two gators were stolen from a Manhattan pet shop. The first was spotted in Wildcat Creek and died in an attempt to recapture it. The second hasn’t been found. This third one is apparently too small to be the missing one.
City of Manhattan officials told the Manhattan Mercury they are working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to determine how best to capture this gator.
Now that we’re all up to speed, some questions rise to the top. Of course, the initial question is what is going on over there? This whole situation has such a stranger-than-fiction feel to it. At the same time, it feels like a plotline to something from "Parks and Recreation." Where’s Leslie Knope when we need her?
Nevertheless, we hope it can get resolved quickly and safely for everyone, including the gator. We’ve already seen a gator perish in the last month. We don’t need another. Out of morbid curiosity, we wonder who in Kansas is even qualified to catch a gator?
What are they going to do with it once they catch it? We hope they don’t give it to that initial Manhattan pet shop where this gator problem started. Is there a foster home for wayward gators? We hope so and we hope it’s not in Kansas.
Where is that missing second gator? At this rate, it might become an urban legend. We hope law enforcement officials are looking for it, though we realize that might be an exercise in futility.
Why is Manhattan becoming a gator hub? It likely isn’t, but it certainly feels that way. It’s very much more likely someone who got in over their head with an illegal gator thought, "Now’s my chance to get rid of this thing," and dropped the creature in a creek. That’s a shame.
Situations like this make it very hard to defend exotic pet licenses. Gators aren’t native to Kansas, and introducing them to the wild has greater consequences than you might think. If you don’t believe us, just look at Florida. That state has multiple invasive species problems largely because of exotic pet problems.
We suppose some of these questions can’t be answered. Perhaps the answer is just this is 2020.