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Palmerton woman rescues alligator from freezing water

It was a happy ending for an alligator that had been let loose in frigid waters.

Christina Obrecht, owner of Christina’s Reptile and Animal Sanctuary in Palmerton, came to the rescue.

“I had gotten a phone call Sunday afternoon from two fishermen that had found an alligator,” Obrecht said, adding that the location where the gator was found was at Kimmet’s Lock in the Allentown area.

Obrecht said she was accompanied by a new volunteer, Dana Ortiz, who went her as a gentleman took them down to the bank by the water.

She said the gator, about 3-feet long, was underneath the water, about 3 feet out, and 2 to 2 1/2 feet under the water.

“I went on the water, and was able to get in a little closer to grab him,” Obrecht said. “I grabbed him by the head, got him out and put him in the duffle bag for transportation.”

Obrecht said they will be transporting the alligator to CDE Exotics in Wilkes-Barre in the near future.

She said the gator put up a little bit of a struggle only after she grabbed hold its neck area, as it didn’t have much strength because the water was extremely cold.

“He’s definitely fairing much better, becoming more active, is doing well,” she said. “He is missing a few toes on its left hind leg, which looks like an old injury that healed fine.”

Obrecht estimated the actual rescue took between five to 10 minutes, and noted it actually took longer to hike down the water and catch him.

“I’m super glad that he’s safe, looks pretty healthy; that’s the main concern (because) he would eventually have died in the water,” she said. “First, I try to do anything I can to try to save it.”

Obrecht said she isn’t sure how long the gator was in the water.

“We have no idea,” she said. “Somebody did buy it as a pet at some point and decided to let it loose.”

See the video.

Obrecht offered sound advice.

“Anyone else out there that has exotic animals they need to get rid of, please don’t dump them,” she said. “And if we can’t take them in, we can certainly direct them in the right place to go.”

Obrecht said the idea isn’t to make a bad impression on the hobby or profession.

“Unfortunately, there are irresponsible keepers, whether its reptiles, cats, dogs, birds or any other exotics,” she said. “There’s also good in this hobby/profession.”

Obrecht is known throughout the community because of educational programs she conducts.

She has several affiliates, including Gator boys in Florida that take in excess crocodilians we rescue when we have no more room for them.

“It’s great to have so many resources. Many of the places we transport them to also use them for educational programs like we do,” she said.

Obrecht said anyone with questions or concerns may follow them on Facebook, or call 610-390-1655.

Christina Obrecht, owner of Christina's Reptile and Animal Sanctuary in Palmerton, successfully rescues this alligator from frigid waters Sunday afternoon. To watch the video, visit www.tnonline.com.