UPDATE: DNR Investigates Release of Massive Gator in New River, - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

UPDATE: DNR Investigates Release of Massive Gator in New River, Jasper County

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Jasper County, S.C. - UPDATE: The release of a 12 foot alligator into New River in Jasper County has sparked an investigation by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

"Ah man, it was a monster. It is a monster," Angela Bonaparte said when she saw the photos of the massive gator found on Hilton Head Island.

The 12 footer is said to be more than 50 years old, weighing more than 1,000 lbs. Bonaparte's says her son snapped a photo of the animal when it was found over the weekend.

"We actually thought it was a lie. Then, when we were told it was true, we couldn't believe it," Bonaparte says.

Next, a gator wrangler with Critter Management relocated the gator to New River in Jasper County. This makes several neighbors in the area uneasy, as kayakers, fishers, and even swimmers spend time at the water ever day. Now, they worry the alligator will resurface. 

"We have kayakers that come out here on a regular basis, and it's bigger than the kayaks, I can imagine," Bonaparte says. 

Bonaparte's son says he is scared to know the massive alligator is out there, although he's seen no trace of it yet.

"It's too big to release in this small body of water," Chris Brown says. 

The relocation has also sparked a DNR investigation. DNR says Critter Management did not follow proper protocol by relocating the gator. Instead, DNR says the gator should have been euthanized, because they believe it posed potential hazard to motorists when it was found beside a highway. 

While some believe the gator should be euthanized, Bonaparte has no problem with it living, as long as the gator is kept from New River. 

"If it's still living, that's fine, but at least tag it," she says. 

A man known for catching nuisance animals on Hilton Head Island says he's caught the biggest alligator he's ever seen there.

The pictures in this article were sent to us by Joe Maffo and Matt Kraycar with Critter Management.

The beast was found Saturday afternoon on Old Cemetery Road.

Maffo said the gator is more than a thousand pounds and measures 12 feet, 8 inches in length.

He's also likely more than 50 years old.

Maffo said nuisance gators are usually destroyed but this gator was relocated to the New River Levy because many did not want him killed.

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