Herpetological Society to help rescue 17 alligators, one caiman

On Saturday, Aug. 22, 18 crates of rescued reptiles — including a 450-pound alligator named Stewart — will arrive in the Valley, transported by Phoenix Herpetological Society in Scottsdale.

While most of the animals will go to a sanctuary outside Arizona, PHS is a critical part of making the massive move successful. Because of its proximity to Los Angeles, vast experience with large reptiles and capability to safely transport alligators, PHS is uniquely qualified to aid in this rescue, according to a press release.

Phx HerpThe animals include 17 American alligators and one caiman that range in length from three to 10 feet. They are at risk of being euthanized because the Canadian facility where they are currently housed is inundated with alligators, crocodiles and other reptiles, the release stated.

The rescue is a joint effort involving five organizations from Canada and the United States, stated the release.

The reptiles will travel from Toronto, Canada, to Los Angeles and then Scottsdale. Two of the animals, including the alligator named Stewart, will stay at the PHS sanctuary, while the rest will continue on to their final destination in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., the release stated.

PHS has the second-largest collection of crocodilians — which include crocodiles, alligators and caimans — in the United States, with 21 of the world’s 24 species in residence, according to the release.

More facts about the massive reptile relocation, provided by the press release:

  • The reptiles will arrive Saturday morning via Air Canada in Los Angeles, to be cleared by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • No other carrier from Canada can handle a shipment of this size, with total weight close to 3,000 pounds.
  • One of the crates containing the reptiles will weigh 600 pounds loaded and is 10 feet long.
  • The rescue operation will take four days to complete.
  • After arriving at PHS, most of the reptiles will be transported to Alligator Adventures in South Carolina by 2 AA employees and arrive there Tuesday afternoon.
  • All of the reptiles have been dropped off over the years at Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo in Ontario from other zoos, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or people who have owned these creatures illegally. The Ontario SPCA is filming the entire move.
  • In order to rescue all of the reptiles needing to move from the Canadian zoo, there will be at least two more shipments of gators, caimans and crocs, which will take place as funds become available.

The PHS sanctuary is located at 78th St. and Dynamite Road in north Scottsdale. For more information visit http://www.phoenixherp.com.

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