CHICAGO (CBS) — From alligators in the city to a donkey on the expressway, the Chicago area has reported many unusual animal sightings over the past few years.
Officials confirmed Tuesday there is a 4-foot-long alligator in the Humboldt Park lagoon.READ MORE: School Bus Driver Shortage Has Kids Getting To School Late; Companies Point To COVID Vaccine Requirements
Chicago police, Animal Care and Control crews, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police, and an animal specialist responded to the reports of an alligator in the lagoon Tuesday morning and later confirmed a 4-foot reptile was in the water. As of Wednesday morning, it was still on the loose in the lagoon.
This is not the only recent alligator sighting in the Chicago area.
In a separate incident in October of 2018, CBS 2 reported a kayaker out fishing for salmon on Lake Michigan found a 4-foot long American alligator. Fisherman David Castaneda was out on the water near Waukegan Harbor when the reptile caught his attention.
Alligators are not the only rare sighting. One driver reported a spotting a donkey on a highway a few months ago.
In April of 2019, a donkey was found in the middle of Interstate 90 near Arlington Heights Road.READ MORE: Officer Struck By Car While Directing Traffic In South Loop, 2 In Custody
The donkey escaped a trailer on I-90 and was quickly brought to safety by officials.
In another exotic animal sighting, John Basile ended up facing misdemeanor charges after bringing a tiger cub into a bar. He runs the Big Run Wolf Ranch just outside town. It’s really a jumble of cages where Basile keeps wolves, mountain lions, and a tiger just behind his home.
In February of 2014, Basile took his tiger cub into Uncle Ritchie’s Bar in Lockport. That’s the same bar where Basile’s tiger apparently bit a woman in December, although she never reported it. Police later filed charges of reckless conduct and possession of a dangerous animal.
Cougars have been more frequently spotted in the Chicago area. The Streamwood neighborhood was put on alert after an August 2018 cougar sighting.
Bears, coyotes and mountain lions have also been reported in local areas.MORE NEWS: Woman Restrained By CPD Officer While Walking Dog Still Waiting For Police Report, Body Camera Footage
In 2015, wildlife expert Stanley Gehrt, who studied Chicago’s coyote population, said the populations of coyotes, bears and mountain lions have been increasing, pushing them closer to urban areas.