Editorials

‘Hollywood’ the gator: a victim of his own fame

In 2015, a crowd gathered for the capture of ‘Hollywood,’ an escaped Nature Center alligator.
In 2015, a crowd gathered for the capture of ‘Hollywood,’ an escaped Nature Center alligator. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Hollywood the alligator is gone, and there’s a reason.

The 30-ish-year-old gator’s vision was failing. He was bumping into Lake Worth docks on his second mating-season escapade away from the Fort Worth Nature Center.

But ultimately, Texas game wardens had to kill the feeble old gator rather than take him home for one simple reason.

Curiosity-seekers wouldn’t leave him alone.

Last year, when Hollywood found his way near downtown, he became a social-media celebrity. Bicyclists and joggers took selfies, and TV crews updated his location.

But that also became his downfall.

Hollywood “had lost fear of humans,” said a state parks and wildlife spokesman. And that was too great a risk. (As a protected species, alligators are state property.)

Nature center director Rob Denkhaus, who welcomed Hollywood back last year, lamented the premature death of a “good gator” who just “popped up in the wrong place too many times.”

Leave the next gator alone until a game warden can send it safely home.

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