Alligator in Highland Oaks Park puts residents on alert

Residents have reported sightings for over 1 year

NEAR AVENTURA - Signs at Highland Oaks Park near Aventura warn visitors to be on the lookout for crocodiles, but an alligator had residents concerned Wednesday.

For more than a year, people living near the park said the alligator has prowled the waters, preying on wildlife and eyeing park goers.

Michael Sims said the brazen beast has forced him to stop bringing his kids to the playground on the other side of the lake.

"Why would you bring your kids to a park where you know a gator is coming out of the water, which is literally 50 feet from the park?" said Sims.

A neighbor claimed to have snapped some pictures of the gator this week. In one shot, it appeared to have something in its mouth (above). In another, its jaw were open wide (below).

"Literally, as I'm walking by, I saw the alligator eat one of the birds," said resident Diana Lustgarten.

Bari Schanerman, the president of the homeowners association, said there have been frequent sightings of the gator lately, mostly in the early morning. There is an outstanding county request with a trapper to capture it.

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