East Texan captures 700 lb alligator in neighborhood - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texan captures 700 lb alligator in neighborhood


An East Texas wildlife biologist caught a massive alligator in Northeast Texas Sunday  night.

The alligator was living in a backyard pond in a neighborhood in Bowie County, which is the county bordering Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Game wardens had been trying to catch the alligator for nearly two weeks. It ate two pet dogs, then East Texan Mark McDonald was called in to get the job done.

Mark McDonald does nuisance alligator capture for Texas Parks and Wildlife

"If there's an alligator who they feel is endangering people or pets, they call me to capture it," said McDonald.

At East Texas Gators and Wildlife Park in Grand Saline, there are more than 70 gators. Most of them were brought there by McDonald.

One of the bigger ones arrived last night. McDonald caught him with a snare, a rope, and a boat.

"I jumped out of the boat, ran with 100 feet of rope and tied it to a tree. He almost pulled me in the water because he was stronger than I was. [He weighs] about 700 lbs," McDonald said.

His wife, Marie, helps him out too. She says her two jobs are to paddle and to pray.

"I only am scared if he trusts in himself and does not trust in God," Marie said.

She is also in charge of driving the gator in her minivan to his new home.

"He was extremely heavy and seven people had to pick him up and put him in my van," Marie said.

"A large one like that can be dangerous to humans and pets and should be removed. That's why I do it," said McDonald.

"An alligator is the only reptile in the world with a cerebral cortex; therefore he has the ability to plan an attack, and to remember and to reason," McDonald said.

He said most gators are good in a natural-- not neighborhood-- habitat. Still, he says hunting and trapping are important.

"You can accidentally behaviorally train animals not to fear a man. So, that's why you should allow hunting and trapping with respect to the population and the species as not to hurt any wildlife unnecessarily," said McDonald.

McDonald said there have been 176 alligator deaths in the United States to date. He said nearly all alligator attacks take place on land and are planned ahead of time by the gator.

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