A kayaker who was fishing for salmon in Lake Michigan Monday morning got quite the surprise, but also likely helped save the life of an animal. According to the City of Waukegon Facebook page, an individual reported that an alligator was in the waters near the Illinois city located northwest of Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune reports that at around 9:30am, a kayaker was fishing off the harbor when he noticed something floating in the water. The man initially thought it was a dead fish, but then noticed it was actually an alligator. When Waukegon Animal Control responded, they confirmed that it was a 4 foot long caiman alligator. And this is where the story takes a turn for the worse. The alligator apparently had tape over its mouth and according to animal experts, didn't have long to live. It is unknown how long the animal was in the water. Approaching mid-October, Lake Michigan water would be turning too cold soon for it to survive regardless.

The good news is the rescue was safe and successful and the alligator is being transferred to an area wildlife center where it will get examination and treatment. In a few days, wildlife officials should be able to determine if the animal will recover, which they expect it will. If everything checks out, the animal is expected to thrive again.

Meanwhile, Waukegon authorities are planning to conduct an investigation into whether or not the alligator was abandoned there, which it appears likely it was. The abandoning of exotic animals is a crime. Illinois officials say it occurs less than it used to as a result of tougher state regulations regarding ownership of endangered or threatened animals.


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