Officials in New Jersey are still on the hunt for an alligator that’s running loose in the suburbs. The three- to four-foot gator has eluded local police and wildlife officers since it was first spotted in a public waterway in Middlesex over a week ago. Officials have tracked, shot at, and tried humanely trapping it, but have so far been unable to capture the reptile.

The Middlesex Borough Police Department first received a report about the alligator on Aug. 23. A member of the public had spotted the alligator in the Ambrose Brook, a small creek that winds through several Middlesex parks and connects a series of man-made lakes with the Raritan River. The police department confirmed the sighting later that afternoon, but the alligator quickly ducked under the surface and disappeared.

“We are working closely with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Conservation Police to capture and relocate the reptile,” the MBPD wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

Local police and wildlife officers searched for the gator over the weekend and found it again on Saturday night in Lake Creighton, which abuts Victor Crowell Park. Its exact location made a safe capture difficult, so a police officer shot at the alligator but missed.

“Because the threat to public safety that this reptile causes is significant, a Middlesex Police Officer employed a safe discharge from a firearm in an attempt to neutralize it, while in close proximity,” the department explained in a follow-up Facebook post. “The alligator immediately submerged into the brook, and it was unconfirmed if the attempt was successful.”

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They’d get their confirmation soon enough, as the gator was seen alive and well in Lake Creighton on Monday. This led the department to close Victor Crowell Park to the public “for a minimum of 72 hours or until such time that the alligator is deemed to no longer be a threat.”

Roughly 36 hours later, on Tuesday night, officers spotted the gator once again near a small island in the lake. And yesterday, the police department and its partners launched several drones and a boat to help with the search efforts. They’ve since deployed live traps at various points along the lake, but as of Thursday afternoon, the alligator was still on the loose and the park remained closed to the public.

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