Fort Worth

Game warden kills ‘Hollywood,’ the blind Lake Worth alligator

A licensed nuisance alligator hunter, state game wardens and Tarrant Regional Water District employees pull an alligator out of the Trinity River east of downtown in July 2015. The old, blind gator survived another year but was killed Friday by a game warden.
A licensed nuisance alligator hunter, state game wardens and Tarrant Regional Water District employees pull an alligator out of the Trinity River east of downtown in July 2015. The old, blind gator survived another year but was killed Friday by a game warden. Star-Telegram archives

The 10-foot long, old, blind alligator that has been a “nuisance” around Fort Worth lately has been killed.

A Texas game warden shot and killed the gator, known by some as “Hollywood,” Friday evening in the Trinity River in River Oaks, close to Lake Worth, Steve Lightfoot, a spokesman for Texas Parks and Wildlife, said Wednesday.

“The conclusion was that [the gator] was aging, blind and had lost fear of humans or wasn’t able to effectively stay away from them,” Lightfoot said.

“It was in poor condition, bumping into docks and couldn’t fend for itself. The most humane thing to do was go ahead and put the gator down.”

Lightfoot said that having to kill a gator this way isn’t common, “but it does happen.”

Last month, Hollywood ventured from his normal habitat — the north end of Lake Worth, near the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge — and made his way to the south end of Lake Worth, bumping into docks and prompting the city to get an expedited 10-day certificate of nuisance to relocate Hollywood. That time, they couldn’t find the gator, estimated to weigh more than 400 pounds and measuring more than 10 feet long. Hollywood was estimated to be 25 to 30 years old.

“Ultimately the animal had popped up in the wrong place too many times,” said Rob Denkhaus, director of the nature center.

Fort Worth City Councilman Dennis Shingleton, who worked to obtain a certificate of nuisance from the state that allowed the killing, said the game warden did what was in everybody’s “best interest,” and he’s “relieved that we finally resolved the issue.”

Lightfoot said the gator’s remains would be taken to the nature center to be prepared for display for educational purposes.

Denkhaus estimated that 40 to 50 alligators live in or near the nature center.

Denkhaus said last month that Hollywood likely was flushed out of the north end of the lake because of heavy rain and high lake levels, and it was believed the gator probably found his way back home.

However, it appears Hollywood was re-creating his trip to Fort Worth last summer, when he was wrangled out of the river just west of downtown and returned to his home.

This time around, nearly one year later, he didn’t get quite as far and his trip had a different ending.

Denkhaus said he has interacted with Hollywood a lot over the past several years and had found the animal to be a laid-back, overall “good gator.”

Mark David Smith: 817-390-7808, @MarkSmith_FWST

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