There is a lot of wildlife here in Los Angeles. Although it's just my impression, I have the sense that there have been more wild animals roaming the city than usual, owing to drought and recent wildfires. Reggie, however, is an exotic animal, raised illegally as a pet and then released into the wild as he grew larger.
Although I understand the harm that can result from introducing exotic animals into the ecosystem, there's something about exotics in Los Angeles that sort of fits. In an environment like this, it would seem odd if 7-foot alligators weren't running loose.
When it was discovered that Reggie the alligator was living freely in Machado Lake, many failed attempts were made to capture him. Reggie's ability to elude capture for two years made him into a local legend and won him many fans.
Eventually Reggie was captured in the grand L.A. manner, with helicopters hovering overhead to record the scene on film. Recently, Reggie was re-introduced to the public via his own private exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo. There was much fanfare, as the public came out to celebrate the People's Alligator.
However, shortly after his debut at the zoo, Reggie went missing. He was found lounging under a tree in the children's petting zoo. No one was hurt, or eaten. But I read that Reggie was put on 24-hour watch to prevent him from escaping again, in addition to the microchip he already wears for tracking purposes.
It's clear to me that Reggie symbolizes people's desire for freedom, and that why he's so popular. But I have to wonder, if Reggie were a person, what kind of person would he be? Would he be the homeless person who is offered shelter only to run off to live under a bridge? Would he be a gun-toting survivalist giving the finger to the government?