It’s possible that the Disney alligator that was captured and euthanized by wildlife officials was the wrong one. On Wednesday, the alligator believed to have killed 2-year-old Lane Graves near a resort shoreline was caught by the FWC. They alleged the correct alligator was captured.
People reports that Dr. Kenneth Cohrn, who examined Lane’s body, asserts that it’s impossible to identify the exact alligator that killed Lane at Disney. He said that officials “could have had 50 alligators there, but if you don’t have adequate information to match the teeth to the bite wounds, there’s nothing to look at.”
FWC officials released a statement this week that they were “confident” they captured the alligator that attacked a young Nebraska boy at Disney World’s Seven Seas Lagoon while he was playing in very shallow water on the beach.
— People Magazine (@people) June 24, 2016
The reptile was reportedly euthanized after officials narrowed the number of suspected alligators down to six. FWC officials explain that they were able to identify the alligator from “expert analyses and observations by staff with extensive experience in investigating fatal alligator bite incidents.”
Investigators also worked off witness descriptions, proximity to the site of the attack, and the size of the alligator.
Trappers euthanized six alligators from the area following the June 14 attack. Three alligators were the closest in size to the one described grabbing Lane. They were also near the location where he was last seen.
Lane died from drowning and bite wounds. His body was found intact near the area he was attacked by the alligator.
Dr. Cohrn believes the Disney alligator attack involved a smaller-sized reptile. He said two of the alligators were smaller — “less than 5-feet” — and he thinks it could’ve been one of those.
“But there is no science behind that. We really couldn’t make an identification,” Cohrn added.
The FWC admitted that bite marks were “inconclusive,” but that “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.”
DNA was collected from the victim and all alligators captured, the FWC said in a statement. It showed that “results from the victim’s wounds were negative for animal DNA, and no comparison could be made.”
1.3 million alligators live in Florida, but the FWC reminds the public that attacks are “a very rare occurrence.” They continue that waterways in Florida serve as “potential habitat for alligators and other critters,” pointing out that it’s near impossible to control.
Dr. Cohrn says that Florida alligators are in their own habitat and people should “expect to see them.”
“You run into a problem where the boundaries between people and populations interact with the natural habitat of wild animals. It happens in communities, it happens in park areas, it happens all over Florida,” the doctor said.
— People Magazine (@people) June 23, 2016
As Pix 11 reports, Disney beaches have been reopened since the tragic alligator attack.
Disney scrambled to post more warning signs around the beach after the incident. Security guards told visitors to remain on sidewalks.
Beaches will also include signs and temporary barriers “to further promote safety at our resort and we continue to work on permanent, long-term solutions,” a source said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced that it’s no longer hunting alligators in the Seven Seas Lagoon where Lane Graves was killed.
It’s unknown if FWC officials captured and killed the right alligator, but authorities are more confident that everything is relatively safe in the resort area now.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]