'Big Al' illegally killed in St. Petersburg

13-foot gator's death investigated by Florida wildlife officials

ST. PETERSBERG, Fla. - Wildlife officials say a 13-foot alligator that was trapped in a St. Petersburg lake shouldn't have been killed.

Lt. Gary Morse of the Florida Fish and Wildlife agency's field office in Lakeland told the Tampa Bay Times the alligator hunter got some misinformation from one of their officers. Morse says the gator's Sept. 25 death is being investigated.

Morse says trapper Jovan Johannessen had a countywide alligator permit. When he received his permit, he also got a manual that clearly states trapping is prohibited in "incorporated cities and municipalities."

George Heinrich, a local wildlife biologist, says the gator some called "Big Al" for years was not a nuisance.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster says he hopes the wildlife agency "prosecutes under the full extent of the law."

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