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Twice as Many Alligators Captured at Walt Disney World Resort Since Summer 2016

In June 2016, a two year old boy, Lane Thomas Graves, was killed when he was pulled under the Seven Seas Lagoon, near the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at the Walt Disney World Resort. Since then the number of alligators trapped and removed from the property has more than doubled, compared to the 15 months leading up to the boys death.   Going from 45 to 95 alligators captured.  Keep in mind there are approximately 1.3 million alligators in Florida, and the Walt Disney World property is about 40 square miles, so 45-95 really isn’t a lot for such a large area.

But why have the totals doubled? This could be due to a few possible factors. The first factor could be that there are more alligators in the area than there were previously.  Either they were missed or increased due to breeding. A second potential factor could be that Disney is more diligent about removing the animals after the tragic incident.  But that might not be completely their fault because of a third factor. Disney hires state-contracted trappers and since the fatality the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissions has given Disney approval for a special permit that allows them to “exceed state limits and remove nuisance alligators from it’s waters.” Not all alligators are considered “nuisance” gators. To qualify for that alligators must be …at least four feet in length and is believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property.”

It might not have been completely a matter of diligence but one of “state limits.” The reason for limits is that relocated alligators often will try to return to where they have been removed from. If they are taken out to be located in remote areas it will most likely lead to fighting and death for the captured alligator. Thankfully the state has recognized the threat and given the park special permission to remove more of the reptiles. Disney has also put up signs and fencing near water ways, and in memory of little Lane Disney erected up a lighthouse statue.

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If your fear of visiting is due to the gator issue, rest assured, they are doing everything they can to make sure you are safe.  As long as you follow the guidelines and stay in designated areas, you should be fine.

Sources:  MyFWC.comAL.com, Orlando Sentinel


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