JUST IN: Captured gator photographed wearing bunny ears killed


What started out as what one South Florida woman thought would be a harmless photo has led to a somber ending. 

A Royal Palm Beach homeowner called Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Sunday saying a 5-foot-long gator had been hanging around her property for a month and a half. It got too close for comfort, and out of fear for the safety of her 2-year-old child, she wanted it gone.

>> Report: Which Florida lakes had the most alligators in 2015

When a trapper arrived, the homeowner, who did not want to be identified, had just finished an Easter egg hunt. As the alligator’s mouth was taped shut and a leash was around its neck, she placed bunny ears on top of it and snapped a photo. 

She said she was told that gator would be relocated. Never did she think that “relocated” would mean killed.

The FWC later said that killing the animal was necessary to avoid any future problems.

“Relocating nuisance alligators is not a responsible option for people or alligators,” says FWC Public Information Coordinator Carol Lyn Parrish in an email. “Relocated alligators often try to return to their capture site and can create problems for people or other alligators along the way.”

>> VIDEO: Large tied-up gator spotted in Miami

In a similar incident at John Prince Park, a 13-foot gator was trapped and removed from the park. In that case, a crowd of onlookers posed with the bound reptile, even going as far as to touch and sit on top of the animal.

“We don’t condone allowing public contact with alligators removed by contracted nuisance alligator trappers,” says Parrish.

Parrish adds that once an alligator is removed, it becomes the property of the alligator trapper. 

The alligator trappers, who work under contract with the FWC, are not state employees, and oftentimes an alligator that is processed for hide and meat is the primary source of their compensation.


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