"Junior" Captured At Beauvoir; Three Gator Friends Elude Trappers

Junior and his captors at Beauvior.
Junior and his captors at Beauvior.
Beauregard at the beach in Biloxi.
Beauregard at the beach in Biloxi.

BILOXI (WLOX) -- His name is Junior, and he's about to start a new life, in a new place. Beauvoir's acting director says he's grown fond of the 8-foot gator and his three friends who washed onto the grounds after Katrina. But now that tourists are back, the gators have to go.

Friday's gator hunt looked a lot like fishing, but the catch was much larger and a lot smarter.

Ryan Ross is a trapper for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

"It's more about technique. You've got to know what you're doing. They're very good at hiding. He was right in front of us at one time and you couldn't see him in the mud."

But there was no more hiding for Junior. Trappers caught up with the 8-foot alligator after nearly three years of calling the Beauvoir grounds home.

"We do that by snagging him with a rod and reel, and getting rope on him as quickly as possible," said Ross.

Junior didn't seem too happy to see the trappers. Maybe he was worried about ending up as a handbag and shoes. But, Beauvoir officials promise they only want the alligators relocated, not harmed.

Beauvoir Acting Director Richard Forte said, "They're interesting animals and I didn't want them hurt, because I really enjoyed watching them."

Luckily for Junior, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a new tag and release program for alligators.

"We do relocate a lot of alligators," said trapper Lynn McCoy. "We need to know if they're going back to where we actually capture them from or exactly what they're doing, you know. So that's where we research programs to see what's happening with them."

Junior will now live in Vancleave's Ward Bayou. At least he can tell his friends Beauregard,  Cat  and Short Stuff who are still lurking in the Beauvoir marsh that he didn't go quietly.

"He put up a pretty good fight," said Ryan Ross. "When they get this big, they fight."

Trappers say they plan to come back out as soon as the Beauvoir staff spots another alligator.

Meanwhile, museum officials say they were emailed photos of an alligator walking on the beach near the coliseum Friday morning. They believe that was Beauregard, who lives on the Beauvoir grounds and may have swam out through Oyster Bayou.