ELMWOOD PARK, N.J., July 9 (UPI) -- New Jersey authorities said a 4-foot alligator fished out of the Passaic River after being spotted by a fisherman was the first on record in the body of water.
Fisherman Louis Acosta called Elmwood Park police Wednesday after he spotted the reptile's conspicuous tail and responding officers caught sight of the gator in the water and summoned state wildlife officials to the scene.
Wildlife authorities pursued the alligator for about two hours before it was successfully taken into custody.
"I think it was probably someone's pet that got too big so they released it into the wild," Elmwood Park Police Chief Mike Foligno told NBC New York.
Caryn Shinske, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said alligators are not native to New Jersey and the specimen pulled from the water Wednesday was the first on record to be seized from the Passaic River.
She told NorthJersey.com the gator is being kept in a "secure and undisclosed location" until officials can find it a new home.
"We have a list of zoos and institutions around the country that will take alligators," Shinske said