HONG KONG (AP) – A crocodile that became a celebrity in Hong Kong by evading dart guns, harpoons and snares set by expert hunters from around the world finally wandered into a trap Thursday.

Fishermen found Gucci the saltwater croc – first spotted in a swampy creek in November – trapped in a steel noose, said Cheung Chi-sun, a wildlife protection officer from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

A live broadcast on Cable TV showed agriculture department officials in a small boat moving the 5-foot-long reptile from the creek. It didn’t seem to put up much of a struggle.

Gucci was healthy, with no apparent injuries, said government veterinarian Eric Tai. “It’s very alive, happy and relaxed,” he said.

Where it came from remains a mystery, although local media have speculated that it was an abandoned pet or an escapee from a crocodile farm in mainland China.

Though the 4-year-old croc was small, officials worried that it could pose a threat to the public. The species, found in Australia and New Guinea, is known for frequent attacks on humans.

The government spent about $38,000 in its efforts to catch the reptile, said spokesman Donald Lam.

Nicknamed Gucci – after the Italian designer – by local media thanks to Hong Kong’s passion for crocodile-skin handbags, the beast avoided initial efforts to snare it by local officials, and later defeated crocodile experts from Australia and China.

Hong Kong has no native crocodile species, and curious people flocked to the area the croc called home, turning it into a tourist attraction.

Not long after the reptile was first sighted in November, radio callers elected it “Personality of the Year.”

Gucci will be kept for a few weeks at an animal center before being transferred to the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden research institute, and eventually will be taken to a new Hong Kong wetland park next year.


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