The Disney alligator that killed a toddler in Florida a week-and-a-half ago has been caught. The FWC is confident they found the alligator responsible for attacking 2-year-old, Lane Graves.
According to a statement released to People on Wednesday, the organization believes they captured and killed the right alligator.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 23, 2016
“There are no words to describe the profound sadness we feel for the family of Lane Graves,” Nick Wiley, executive director of the FWC, said. “We will continue to keep this family close to our hearts as they deal with the pain and grief of the loss of Lane.”
A spokesperson confirmed that the alligator was euthanized. Based on “expert analyses and observations by staff with extensive experience in investigating fatal alligator bite incidents,” the FWC explains that it was able to positively identify the Disney alligator that officials have been searching for.
Officials also worked off a witness description, proximity to the site of the attack, and the size of the alligator.
In the aftermath of the Disney alligator attack, officials “humanely removed” six alligators from the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Orlando — which is where the toddler was snatched by the reptile and dragged into the water.
Experts and a forensic odontologist work the FWC investigators in its process of elimination of the alligators they’d captured. Three of the six alligators fit the size of the one described to have nabbed Lane. Of the three, two were closest to the area where the boy was killed.
“While results of a bite were inconclusive, subject matter experts were able to conclude that either of the two suspect alligators captured near the attack site were capable of inflicting the observed wounds,” the FWC said in a statement.
The Conservation Commission revealed that “DNA was collected from the victim and all alligators captured. Results from the victim’s wounds were negative for animal DNA, and no comparison could be made.”
FWC officials go on to say that alligator attacks are “a very rare occurrence in Florida” and that it “works diligently to keep Floridians and our visitors safe and informed on what to do if they spot a potentially dangerous alligator.”
— People Magazine (@people) June 22, 2016
Orlando Sentinel reports that the FWC didn’t disclose exact locations as to where they found the alligators and their sizes.
Disney had over 40 square miles that investigators had to cover. In the last 10 years, 240 nuisance alligators have been caught at Walt Disney World, with 15 of them being removed this year so far. This information comes from records released Wednesday evening by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Lane’s parents — Melissa and Matt Graves — have released statements expressing their profound grief over the loss of their son, but have declined to comment on the latest development regarding the Disney alligator being caught and killed.
The 2-year-old boy was playing in very shallow water when an alligator suddenly grabbed him around 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 14. Searchers later found his body intact; the cause of death was drowning. He also had bite wounds.
In the meantime, Disney has posted more signs warning visitors of alligators and other wildlife in the area. They’ve also begun the process of installing higher fencing around the area, though some experts warn that alligators will find a way in if they’re determined.
Lane’s death goes to show how unpredictable wildlife can be since the FWC noted in its statement that the area in which the child was attacked was “poor alligator habitat that will not support a large population of adult alligators.”
[Image via Shutterstock]