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    Courtesy Candis Whitney/Special for the News-Leader

Alligator on the beach relocated to forest

An alligator was spotted on the beach on Amelia Island Monday morning and was promptly reported to law enforcement officials. According to photographer Candis Whitney, Fernandina Beach police came at about 7 a.m. and called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Karen Parker, the communications contact for the FWC’s Central Region Office based in Lake City, said FWC officer Jon Culbreth found the alligator at 10:30 p.m. Monday night, captured it, and relocated it to Cary State Forest.

“The animal was about five feet long. Although he didn’t get a weight on the gator, (Officer Culbreth) said the animal had apparently been eating well. ... The gator wasn’t killed. It was relocated and released into a freshwater habitat,” Parker wrote in an email sent Thursday.

Alligators do occasionally stray from their usual habitat in local marshes and creeks and end up on the island’s beaches or in the ocean.

Parker asked the News-Leader to pass on the following information:

“The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) to proactively address public safety risk from alligators in developed areas, while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur. SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property. Those with concerns about an alligator may call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). When someone concerned about an alligator calls the Nuisance Alligator Hotline, we will dispatch one of our contracted nuisance alligator trappers to resolve the situation.”

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