BEAUMONT, Texas, Oct. 13 (UPI) — The owner of a Texas gator rescue said a record-breaking 13-foot, 8-inch alligator caught in a Liberty County lake is “the highlight” of his career.
Gary Saurage and a crew from his Gator County rescue center and tourist attraction in Beaumont responded Wednesday morning to Champion Lake, north of Wallisville, on a report of a large nuisance gator.
The group spent six hours working to capture the massive reptile, which weighs in at 900 pounds.
Saurage said Texas Parks and Wildlife officials confirmed his catch broke the state record for an alligator captured alive.
“And they let me know by record they don’t see anything that’s even been within 5 inches of this as far as being caught live. And, uh that makes me feel proud. I’ve been looking for this gator for a really long time. This is without a doubt the highlight of my career,” Saurage told KBMT-TV.
He said living in captivity will ultimately be the best thing for the large alligator, which was captured before it could do anything that would lead authorities to want it euthanized.
“He’s not going to be a dead alligator he’s going to be a live alligator here so we can educate people and show people what they’re like. And this is a magnificent beast, now people from all over the world will come and see even one that’s bigger than Big Al, finally,” Saurage said.
Big Al, who measures 13 feet, 4 inches long, is now only the second largest alligator in the state.
Saurage said Gator County is preparing a new habitat for the new arrival to keep him from crowding Big Al’s area.
“We are going to name the alligator but we are putting it out there on Facebook to let the community help us decide the name,” Saurage told the Houston Chronicle.
He said the person who submits the winning name will receive four lifetime passes to visit the gator park.