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Posted by W von Papinešu on March 31, 2003 at 20:16:34:
TIMES-COLONIST (Victoria, British Columbia) 29 March 03 Elusive alligator subject of park search (Emily Bowers)
A reported sighting of a nearly one-metre-long alligator in a Colwood park sparked a two-day search for the creature this week, but despite the efforts of police, fire, SPCA and city officials, no reptile was found.
West Shore RCMP said Friday the alligator, believed to be a Cayman, was spotted in Lookout Lake Park in the Triangle Mountain area of Colwood.
"We have an unconfirmed report," said Const. Ray Banwarie. "One person saw what they think was an alligator."
Joe Calenda, chief administrator for Colwood, said the sighting was reported by a 14-year-old girl on Wednesday evening. The teenager also said it might have been a large lizard, Calenda added.
"Her dad assured us that the complaint is valid," he said. Though he wasn't sure whether the girl's father also saw the alligator, Calenda said the girl was asked more questions by city officials while her father was there.
A widespread search ensued Thursday, with officials shutting down the park and scouring the water for the alligator, to no avail. They searched again Friday and found nothing so the park was reopened.
Some in the area told searchers they had seen an otter recently, but no alligator.
Police believe it might be an escaped or released pet.
West Shore RCMP issued a warning for residents and park users to be on the lookout for the alligator. They have scaled back their search efforts but are still hoping they can catch it.
"The SPCA is looking to see if they have any live traps," Calenda said.
Banwarie said they have no further searches planned, but said that if they have another sighting, they will head out to the park again. Anyone who spots what they think might be an alligator should contact police at 474-2264 or the SPCA at 385-6521.