Zoologist ends search for Lake Hopatcong snake
The search for the snake in Lake Hopatcong has ended but the mystery remains.
Zoologist Gerald Andrejcak posted on his Facebook page that he received a phone call warning him to "walk away from this snake thing" and that even if the serpent was found,"it's gonna be said that I planted it for more publicity "
He also hinted at a conspiracy, adding on Facebook "a suspicious boat that was seen at the area where I sighted the snake. The same boat was seen where the other 15 people saw it the following morning the (Department of Environmental Protection) bails out."
He has not wavered in his belief that the 16-foot snake, who he nicknamed "Henry," is in the lake and warns DEP officials who ended the search and disbelief in the the serpent's existence. “So I’m going to let it go, but when this thing is eventually found, there are going to be a lot of questions that need to be answered,” Andrejcak told the New Jersey Herald. “When the dust settles there is going to be a lot of mud on people’s faces.”
Andrejcak, the assistant manager of Common Sense for Animals in Broadway, became the center of the search after being called in to help by Dale Sloat, Hopatcong's Animal Control Officer. He was the subject of an article in People, a David Letterman monologue and numerous media reports.
Andrejcak, went public with his belief snake was a Green Anaconda after, he says, he was told to keep quiet by Hopatcong officials. “The media turned me into a pariah because I didn’t want to sensationalize it,” he told NJ Inside Scene. He believes that he was the victim of a "smear job" by the the media, the DEP and social media.
According to the website Andrejcak also has a bacterial infection on his foot as a result of wearing wet boots for long periods of time during his search. “I took time away from normalcy to help out,” Andrejcak said. “And now I’m the ‘bad guy.’”
No pictures or video ever surfaced of "Henry" which led to increased skepticism by the DEP. “We have no belief, at this point, there is an anaconda in Lake Hopatcong," spokesman Larry Ragonese told the New Jersey Herald, and called the account offered by zoologist Gerald Andrejcak “not supportable.”
- Lake Hopatcong snake hunter gives up chase / New Jersey Herald
- ‘The Media Has Turned Me Into a Pariah’ Says Snake Specialist / NJ Inside Scene