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Another alligator sighted in Long Island river

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Long Island environmental officials say they are looking for another alligator seen in a river.

According to Newsday, state Department of Environmental Conservation say the gator was reported on Sunday night and was confirmed by officers on Wednesday. The sighting is the fifth in the same area of the Peconic River where DEC officials captured four alligators in April.

The gator has been sighted lurking below the waters of the Peconic River and is the type of reptile you would expect to find in the wild, not on Long Island.

Environmental officials are searching for a three to four foot alligator and while it has been spotted as recently as Saturday, trying to catch it is another story.

“They use chicken, catch poles and nets,” said Matt Blaisings of the NYS Environmental Conservation. “They’re using nets in the river itself to try to contain and isolate the animal.”

A canoe launch has been closed for the time being along with the trail leading to it. Authorities say even a small alligator can cause big harm.

“It's a wild animal, so I want to discourage anyone from handling or feeding it. This is a public safety precaution at this time,” said Blaisings.

“I never seen one before, but they found four in the last two months, so it’s definitely different,” said Steve Hickey a Manorville resident.

Hickey tells Fox 5 he was on his way to go fishing when he spotted the gator. Incredibly, 17 gators over the last nine months have been found in the wild or turned onto authorities on Long Island – and Hickey says he thinks he knows why.

“People are buying them as pets. They're getting too big and then they’re letting them go.”

The fine for owning an alligator is a maximum of $250, but releasing one is a criminal offense. Anyone who does is facing abandonment with up to a year in prison and or a $1,000 fine.

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