Godzilla, the alligator who as rescued from the Prospect Park Lake on a frigid day in February, has died after nearly two months of “extensive” medical care at the Bronx Zoo.
The nearly 5-foot-long gator died on April 16, the zoo announced on Friday. A necropsy revealed that Godzilla was severely underweight, anemic, and suffering from infections of her intestines and skin, and had a stomach ulcer caused by a rubber bathtub stopper she had ingested sometime prior to her rescue. Officials believe she was an ill-advised pet who was illegally dumped in the park by her former owner.
“Despite the intensive care, the alligator was so emaciated, debilitated, and anemic, her immune system was not as strong as it needed to be and she succumbed to those infections,” the zoo said in a statement. “This was a tragic case of animal abuse. Alligators and other wild animals do not belong in the pet trade or in people’s homes.”
A passerby spotted the lethargic reptile in the lake on Feb. 19 and alerted Parks Department staff, who hauled her out of the water and brought her to the Animal Care Center in East New York for evaluation. Godzilla was then transported to the Bronx Zoo for specialized medical care and rehabilitation.
Days after her rescue, Bronx Zoo officials said she weighed only 15 pounds — half of what a healthy gator of her size should weigh — and was being tube-fed because she was “too weak and unresponsive” to eat on her own. At the time, she was too fragile to undergo surgery to remove the bathtub stopper.
Since then, the zoo’s medical team has been providing continuing medical treatment and nutritional support, and was even able to remove the stopper successfully — but ultimately couldn’t turn Godzilla’s condition around.
“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,” zoo officials said in a statement on Friday. “Wild animals are not pets.”
Godzilla was the sixth gator the ACC has cared for in the last five years, Brooklyn Paper’s sister publication amNY reported in February, the rest having been dumped or rescued from homes and apartments, and Prospect Park itself is home to a large population of abandoned turtles.