Toddler’s Death Prompts Disney To Remove 250 Gators in Florida Property

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED: 

  • Disney has relocated or killed 250 alligators from its properties.
  • This comes after one of the animals killed a toddler in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in 2016. 
  • Some of the animals removed from the company owned-areas were either transported to farms, zoos, and animal exhibits or were euthanized and have had their meat and skin sold, with help from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contractors.  

Disney has worked to remove about 250 alligators after a 2-year-old boy was fatally attacked by one of the animals at Disney World in 2016, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Some of the animals removed from the company owned-areas were either transported to farms, zoos, and animal exhibits or were euthanized and have had their meat and skin sold, with help from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contractors.  

An FWC spokesperson told the Sentinel that trappers were paid $30 for each of the alligators they catch.

Disney and FWC have yet to respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Disney’s relocation efforts come after a 2016 incident where one of the animals in the water at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort killed 2-year-old Lane Graves who was then on vacation with his family from Nebraska. The alligator pulled the child into the Seven Seas Lagoon, while another alligator attacked his father, Matt Graves, as he tried to save his son.

The boy’s body was discovered about 16 hours later. Disney’s then-CEO, Bob Iger, said in a statement at the time, “As a parent and a grandparent, my heart goes out to the Graves family during this time of devastating loss,” according to a CNN report. “My thoughts and prayers are with them, and I know everyone at Disney joins me in offering our deepest sympathies.”

Alligators have lived in marshes, swamps, rivers, and lakes of Florida for centuries, according to FWC. According to the Key West Aquarium, the largest population of alligators in the U.S can be found in Gainesville. Gatorland, an alligator theme park, is also located near Disney World.

Following the toddler’s death, his parents started The Lane Thomas Foundation, which provides aides for non-medical expenses of families with children who need life-saving organ transplants being treated at Nebraska Medicine or Omaha’s Children’s Hospital.

According to experts, the relocation of gators from Disney’s resorts has a minimal effect on the animals’ population in the state. Deby Cassill, the integrative biology associate campus chair at the University of South Florida, told the Sentinel that he doesn’t see any harm from Disney’s relocation efforts. “We want to keep them away from children and pets as much as possible,” said Cassill. 

Source: People

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