Staff from a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) program have removed more than 200 alligators from Walt Disney World park in Orlando since the 2016 death of a 2-year-old boy who was caught by one of the reptiles, a television station reported.
Local 10 channel in Tampa (Florida) indicated that some of the alligators removed from the lakes and ponds of the huge Disney enclosure measured almost 12 feet (3.66 meters) long.
The number of alligators removed from the grounds, which house theme parks and hotels and restaurants, is known from the report of the program that allows the capture of these animals in places where they may be a danger or nuisance to humans.
From April 2009 to April 2023 a permit is in effect to set traps and capture alligators on Disney’s grounds, notes the television media, which publishes annual figures of animals captured on the property.
So far in 2021, 6 have been captured and in 2017, the year with the most captures, there were 66.
On June 14, 2016, toddler Lane Thomas was dragged into the water by an alligator while with his family on the shores of a man-made lake at the Disney-owned Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Orlando.
His parents jumped into the water and tried to free the child from the jaws of the 6-foot-long alligator, but were unsuccessful.
The child’s body was found intact 16 hours later by divers at the bottom of the lake.
Since that tragic event, metal fences have been erected around lakes and ponds and signs have been posted to warn of the presence of alligators and the danger they represent, and to prohibit swimming in these waters.
According to an FWC brochure on human-alligator interaction, there have been more than 20 documented cases of human deaths from alligator attacks in Florida since 1948.
“American alligator conservation is a success story. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population estimated at 1.3 million animals of all sizes” and spread throughout the state’s 67 counties.