Guzman, the Buffalo Zoo's 16-year-old American alligator, is retiring next week to sunny Florida.
His departure is due to an upcoming $3 million renovation of the Zoo's Reptile and Amphibian Center, officials said Thursday. Guzman's exhibit in the reptile house will be replaced by one for Komodo dragons. Construction is expected to begin this summer.
The 270-pound Guzman arrived at the Buffalo Zoo in 2004 from the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester.
“Although we are sad to say goodbye to Guzman, we know that he will truly enjoy the Florida sunshine,”general curator Malia Somerville said in a statement.
The American alligator was once close to extinction but recovered due to strict conservation measures and extensive research. Although it is no longer endangered, the federal government lists it as threatened because it is very similar in appearance to the American crocodile.