The Chenango American, Oxford Review-Times and Whitney Point Reporter (COW) are weekly sister papers with a long history of providing local news to the communities of Greene, Oxford, Whitney Point, Brisben, Chenango Forks, Coventry, Genegantslet, Guilford, Lisle, McDonough, Smithville Flats, Triangle and the surrounding areas.
As part of the River Valley News Group, the American, Review-Times and Reporter are written, edited, and organized in Sidney, N.Y., in the downtown office conveniently located at 85 Smith St., Suite 1. River Valley News Group is always striving to be community-centric and, as such, welcomes submitted articles and photos having to do with the goings on in our area.
COW Story of the Week:
Whitney Point’s Got Gators
By Allison Collins
WHITNEY POINT – For the last several weeks, stories of alligator sightings in Whitney Point and surrounding areas have been circulating rapidly. Though its veracity was much debated, the matter seemed resolved with the animal’s July 29 capture and July 31 release to Animal Adventure Park of Harpursville. However, since its capture, a second alligator sighting has been made, also in Whitney Point.
The first report, made Saturday, July 22, came from a pair of kayakers on the Tioughnioga River.
WBNG reported that Degardo Newborn and Elizabeth Parillo snapped a picture of an “absolutely motionless” gator “basking on the riverbank.” The creature, estimated at a length of 2 to 4 feet, retreated into the water when Newborn and Parillo approached in an effort to determine whether or not what they were seeing was real.
A third sighting, by construction workers in Whitney Point proper, was reported Monday, July 24.
Whitney Point mayor Ryan Reynolds posted the following to his Facebook page on Sunday morning, July 23:
Reports of an alligator sighting along the Tioughnioga River between Whitney Point and Lisle have been circulating overnight and this morning. The Department of Environmental Conservation has been contacted and believes the reports to be true. They believe that it was once someone’s pet … let go in the area some time in the last month. They will be investigating the area … in hopes of capturing and relocating it. They will continue to keep tabs on the area if they do not catch it today (and) if the sightings are legitimate. That said, it is a wild animal and all wild animals can be dangerous. Please use caution if in the vicinity. If you see it, don’t approach it and contact the DEC as soon as possible so they can dispatch someone to its location. Thank you.”
Reynolds indicated that the initial gator sighting was reported about two months prior.
The gator was successfully captured by agents of the Department for Environment Conservation (DEC) on Saturday, July 29 behind the Broome County fairgrounds.
On July 31, a representative from Animal Adventure in Harpursville said the facility was “happy to provide a home” and noted that the gator had been dubbed Whitney, in recognition of the site of its rescue.
The AA statement went on to note, “Now in quarantine, (Whitney) will eventually be on exhibit at the park, joining our other two of similar size.” All of AA’s gators are the result of a surrender or rescue.
Shortly after the resolution of Whitney Point’s first gator problem, several area news outlets reported a sighting of a second alligator mid-afternoon on Sunday, Aug. 6.
While kayaking on the Tioughnioga River Sunday, Susan Leri said she saw an alligator around 3:30 p.m. near Whitney Point.
Leri reported the sighting to local law enforcement and filmed video footage of the creature, which she later posted to social media.
Once on-scene, NYS Police corroborated Leri’s sighting and estimated the gator as measuring about 4 feet.
Law enforcement agencies did not capture the gator at the time, but reported their findings to the DEC.
Following the second sighting, Mayor Reynolds posted, “The saga continues,” adding, “With the New York State Police getting eyes on it, it’s safe to say that a second alligator exists.”
DEC agents returned to the area Monday evening and successfully caught the second alligator, estimated at 2 to 3 years old and weighing 15 pounds, with the aid of long-handled nets.
After undergoing a quarantine period of seven to 10 days, the second gator will join Whitney at Animal Adventure.
The DEC can be reached at 756-3095.