Wildlife Officials Rescue Gator from Drain Pipe

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (AP) _ Wildlife officials removed an alligator from a stormwater pipe in a Merritt Island neighborhood

Florida Today (http://on.flatoday.com/X4mcrM ) reports officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission used plastic piping to force the gator to back through the pipe on Tuesday.

They captured the gator and relocated him to a St. Johns River marsh.

The gator had been stuck behind the grated end of the pipe since December.

Neighbors say it snapped and hissed at them when they walked by the drain pipe.

They say they contacted wildlife officials earlier and were told to call a private wildlife or rehabilitation center.

But the newspaper reports that neighbors feared a trapper would kill the gator.

The state agency’s nuisance alligator program received 14,275 calls in 2011 and 6,995 gators were removed.