Reggie the alligator will be seeing us later

first_imgHARBOR CITY – He didn’t die. He didn’t sneak into a river channel. And he’s definitely not hibernating. Reggie, the elusive alligator that humbled a parade of burly gator wranglers at Lake Machado during the summer of 2005, is back. And so are the hovering news helicopters, the yellow police tape and, of course, the politicians. “He was just sun-basking,” said Felix Quint of Long Beach, who happened to be at Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park when Reggie surfaced in the middle of the lake Monday afternoon. “Just a couple of days ago we were talking about what happened to him.” Reggie, illegally dumped in the lake by a former LAPD officer and another man sometime in early 2005, was first spotted in early August that year. A succession of gator wranglers were unsuccessful in their attempts to capture the abandoned pet, but their exploits drew hundreds of onlookers. For several weeks, residents showed up toting lawn chairs and binoculars to try to catch a glimpse of Harbor City’s live reality show. After 18 months of seclusion, Reggie is back, and he’s bigger than ever. And all the media attention may have gone to his head. Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn said that based on witnesses’ reports, Reggie may have grown to about 7 feet – a foot longer than before – and that the reptile’s head appeared to be larger. “Reggie has grown up,” Hahn said. “Maybe we should call him Reginald.” And, yes, there are pictures. L.A. parks maintenance worker Todd Wales snapped several shots of the alligator during an appearance that onlookers said lasted more than an hour. A news crew also took overhead footage of the gator. But was it really Reggie? “We’re as certain as we can be,” said Kevin Regan, assistant general manager of the city’s parks department. Several park visitors stood near the boathouse as the alligator surfaced and swam around. Mike Molina, Hahn’s chief of staff, also caught a firsthand glimpse of the alligator. He rushed out to the park in time to see the alligator after he was informed by city parks workers. “He was looking right at me,” said Molina, who sent a text message about Reggie’s reappearance to his boss, who was attending Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald’s funeral. At a 5 p.m. news conference, Hahn announced that the temporary orange plastic fencing already was going up around the perimeter of the lake. Calls also were made Monday to various “gator wranglers,” including Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s group, to see who might be available to try to catch the alligator this time. Irwin, who had visited the park and promised to return when the alligator was sighted again, was killed by a stingray about a year ago while filming an underwater scene. Hahn reminded residents – and their small dogs – to keep their distance from the lakeshore, noting that Reggie is, after all, a wild animal. “Reggie is older, Reggie is bigger. And he’s probably hungry,” Hahn said. Regan, of the parks department, echoed her advice. “He’s a full-grown alligator with all the capability to kill someone.” In addition to the fencing, a 24-hour patrol will be put back in place, he said. Reggie was named by his former owner, but no one knows whether the animal is male or female. It was last seen in October 2005. Alligators hibernate during the winter. [email protected] (310) 543-6696160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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