Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 49° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation

Florida expert captures elusive alligator at Chicago lagoon

Florida alligator expert Frank Robb holds an alligator during a news conference, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Chicago. Robb captured the elusive alligator in a public lagoon at Humboldt Park early Tuesday. (Amr Alfiky / AP)
Florida alligator expert Frank Robb holds an alligator during a news conference, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Chicago. Robb captured the elusive alligator in a public lagoon at Humboldt Park early Tuesday. (Amr Alfiky / AP)
By Don Babwin Associated Press

CHICAGO – The alligator had a good run as day after day the people hunting for him in a Chicago lagoon came up empty, but in the end he was no match for an expert the city shipped in from Florida.

The male gator, nicknamed `Chance the Snapper,’ was first spotted in the Humboldt Park lagoon about a week ago. After local enthusiasts tried and failed to trap the reptile, Frank Robb arrived from St. Augustine on Sunday . By early Tuesday, he had caught the 5 foot 3 inch animal using something that even cartoon alligators know to avoid: a fishing pole.

“I brought my fishing rod and it went down pretty fast,” Robb said at a news conference at the park Tuesday morning. At about 1:30 a.m. – about 36 hours into the hunt – Robb said he “saw his eye shine and caught him on the fishing rod. One cast… and it was done.”

Chance – whose name sounds a lot like Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper – looked pretty calm as Robb pulled him out of a big plastic tub, and he didn’t squirm as he settled into Robb’s grip. Robb moved around a bit so all the photographers from pretty much every newspaper and television news show snapped pictures – Chance couldn’t do any snapping of his own thanks to what looked like a thick rubber band or electrical tape holding his jaw shut tight.

Chance was a daily news story from the day he was first spotted and photos started popping up online. Investigators don’t know why the animal was in the lagoon but they knew they had to capture it.

Robb assessed the situation and knew from his 24 years of gator catching under his belt that the best way to capture a gator was to make it nice and calm. So, on his recommendation, the city closed sections of the park to reduce the noise and kerfuffle that Robb suspected was keeping the animal in hiding.

Chance will to stay in the tub for now, but the city said it was already looking for roomier quarters, most likely a wildlife sanctuary or a zoo.

“No harm will come to this alligator,” said Kelley Gandurski, the executive director of the Chicago Animal Care and Control.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.



American families feeling the pinch of COVID-19 pandemic

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index asked about 1,330 adult Americans in different income brackets a variety of questions, including how their finances are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy COUNTRY Financial)
Sponsored

The year 2020 hasn’t been the most forgiving year for families and their pocketbooks.