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Rescued alligator that was recovering at NYC zoo has died

This photo provided Friday, April 21, 2023, by the Bronx Zoo, shows an American alligator rescued from a lake in Prospect Park in Brooklyn under care ...
This photo provided Friday, April 21, 2023, by the Bronx Zoo, a radiograph shows a bathtub stopper in the stomach of an American alligator, rescued fr...

This photo provided Friday, April 21, 2023, by the Bronx Zoo, shows an American alligator rescued from a lake in Prospect Park in Brooklyn under care ...

This photo provided Friday, April 21, 2023, by the Bronx Zoo, a radiograph shows a bathtub stopper in the stomach of an American alligator, rescued fr...

NEW YORK (AP) — An abandoned and emaciated alligator that was found in a New York City lake and sent to the Bronx Zoo for recovery has died in a “tragic case of animal abuse," zoo officials said.

The zoo provided extensive medical treatment and nutritional support for the debilitated gator, but she succumbed to her injuries on Sunday, the zoo said in a statement.

“This alligator suffered and died because its owner decided to dump her in a frigid lake, in an extremely debilitated state rather than provide her with the veterinary care that could have saved her,” Bronx Zoo officials said. “Wild animals are not pets.”

An autopsy showed chronic and severe weight loss, extreme anemia and infections in the gator’s intestine and skin, the statement said. The gator, estimated to be 5 to 6 years old, also had a chronic ulcer in her stomach caused by a rubber bathtub stopper she had ingested while illegally kept as a pet.

That rubber stopper was later successfully removed.

When the gator was rescued from Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn in late February and brought to the Bronx Zoo for recovery, she weighed only 15 pounds (6.8 kilos). An alligator of her length should have weighed 30 to 35 pounds (13.6 to 15.9 kilos), officials said.