Gatorland Addresses Surge in Illegal Alligator Ownership in Florida

Illegal Possession of Alligators Raises Concerns in Central Florida

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Gatorland, a renowned wildlife park in Florida, is taking a stand against the recent surge in illegal alligator possessions in Central Florida. The park aims to address this issue and ensure the safety and well-being of the state’s apex predator.

Brandon Fisher, a representative from Gatorland, acknowledged people’s fascination with alligators, especially when visiting Florida. However, he emphasized that this fascination should not serve as an excuse for illegal activities. Fisher believes that understanding these creatures should be accompanied by responsible behavior.

Recent data compiled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reveals that over the past two years, six cases of illegal alligator possessions have been reported, all of which originated in Central Florida. This alarming trend raises concerns about the potential threats posed to both humans and the alligators themselves.

In a recent incident earlier this month, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) discovered an alligator confined in a tank within an Orange County residence. The homeowner claimed that he intended to take it to Gatorland. However, FWC highlighted that even if this were the case, the tank did not meet the necessary requirements for housing an alligator.

According to Fisher, confining an alligator to a tank of insufficient size is detrimental to the creature’s well-being. Alligators can grow to more than 4 feet in length, and as they continue to grow, they require a minimum of 2 and a half acres of space. Violating these guidelines not only compromises the alligator’s welfare but also poses potential risks to the public.

State law explicitly states that killing, capturing, or possessing an alligator is a felony offense. Gatorland is actively collaborating with FWC to educate the public and discourage any form of illegal possession. The aim is to protect both people and alligators from the consequences of reckless actions.

Fisher emphasized the importance of these laws and regulations, underlining that even a 4-foot alligator can cause severe harm. He warned against considering alligators as pets, as they are not suitable for domestication. Their natural habitat is where they should remain, and interfering with their environment can result in dangerous situations.

To gather further insights into the scale of this issue, we reached out to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. However, we have yet to receive a response regarding any observed increase in alligator captures.

In conclusion, Fisher had a clear message for anyone contemplating the idea of keeping a gator as a pet. He strongly advised against approaching or interacting with a wild alligator, as it could lead to dire consequences. Leaving alligators undisturbed in their natural habitats is crucial for the safety of both humans and these remarkable creatures.

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