Thursday, November 15, 2018
News Roundup

FWC monitoring Clearwater park after latest gator attack in Florida

CLEARWATER — The warnings came too late.

By the time witnesses told him to watch out, the 11-foot gator already had Richard Peel in its clutches.

On Monday, Peel, 35, became the latest Floridian to suffer an attack by alligator as he tried to pull a golf disc from the water in Cliff Stephens Park. After two gators were removed from the park that night, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it’s keeping an eye on activity there.

"There’s a lot of people that fish at that lake, so we’re going to be monitoring as well," FWC spokeswoman Ashley Tyer said.

FWC got the call Monday around 5 p.m. Peel had been playing disc golf at the park when he went to grab the disc from the lake. The 11-foot male gator grabbed him, but witnesses were able to help fight it off and pull Peel out. Peel was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Tyer said witnesses were able to keep their eyes on the gator, allowing trappers dispatched by the FWC Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program to positively identify it and pull it out of the lake. Whenever the FWC identifies nuisance gators, contracted trappers are dispatched to trap them. They’re then allowed to sell the hide and meat.

Shortly after the gator that attacked Peel was trapped, Tyer said another 6-foot female gator was identified as a nuisance and removed as a precaution.

"It appeared she is very used to people and possibly has been fed," Tyer said. "We wanted to take the proactive approach and remove that gator."

The attack comes a few weeks after a homeless woman was bitten by an alligator while taking a nighttime dip in Lake Hernando.

Last month, researchers from the University of North Florida issued a report to the Ecological Society of America stating alligator attacks have been on the rise in Florida since the reptile was removed from the endangered species list in 1987. The researchers said humans are to blame for the uptick.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:Alligator attacks are on the rise in Florida. Thank humans, scientists say.

"Using simple pairwise linear regression, we found that only human population size was a reliable predictor of alligator attack rates in Florida during the period 1988-2016," Morgan Golden-Ebanks and Adam E. Rosenblatt said in the report. "As a result, management of human-alligator conflict should focus on limiting human-alligator interactions and preventing the further development of areas used by alligators."

Data from the FWC indicates that alligator bites on humans have increased from about six per year between 1971 and 1986 to about 10 per year from 1987 through 2017.

In light of the spike in human-gator interactions, the FWC is putting more energy into addressing those encounters.

"The FWC recently revised management objectives to address Florida’s healthy, thriving alligator population," Tyer wrote in a news release. "In the interest of public safety, our intent is to reduce the population of this robust, sustainable resource in areas where people and alligators are most likely to come in contact."

The FWC encourages anyone who believes a specific alligator poses a threat to people, pets or property to call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at (866) 392-4286.

If a gator does attack, the FWC said to fight back and fight hard.

The FWC advises "if an alligator bites you, the best thing to do is fight back, providing as much noise and resistance as possible."

Daniel Figueroa IV can be reached at [email protected] Follow @danuscripts

Comments
10 things about Rays Blake Snell’s Cy Young winning season

10 things about Rays Blake Snell’s Cy Young winning season

LHP Blake Snell accomplished a lot in his remarkable 2018 breakout season. And wining the American League Cy Young award on Wednesday added to that list:* He became the second Ray win the most prestigious pitching award, joining David Price, who did ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Disney unveils plans for ‘Guardians of Galaxy’ coaster, high-tech robots

Disney unveils plans for ‘Guardians of Galaxy’ coaster, high-tech robots

At an amusement park industry trade show, a Disney executive hails the next generation of animatronics.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buccaneers All-22: Tony Dungy wants to know what happened in the debacle against Washington. Here are the answers, coach

Buccaneers All-22: Tony Dungy wants to know what happened in the debacle against Washington. Here are the answers, coach

Stop blaming the play-caller. Dirk Koetter wasn’t the reason why Tampa Bay scored only three points.
Updated: 6 hours ago
That Kate Upton tweet you’ve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

That Kate Upton tweet you’ve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

Model/actress Kate Upton had plenty to say in 2016 when then fiance Justin Verlander missed out on winning the AL Cy Young award due in part to the votes of the two Tampa Bay writers, posting an extraordinarily profane, and extremely memorable, tweet...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays’ Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

Rays’ Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG – Blake Snell first started thinking about it at the end of last season, then more as spring training drew near. He shared first with teammate Chris Archer on the phone, then later with Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder over a Janu...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Softball stars Callie Turner, Alexis Kilfoyl sign together

Softball stars Callie Turner, Alexis Kilfoyl sign together

Alexis Kilfoyl was set to have the spotlight all to herself when she signed with Alabama on Wednesday.The Academy at the Lakes senior, one of the top softball pitchers in the nation, planned on being the only one to deliver a speech in the school's g...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

The incident took place in the 30600 block of Tremont Drive. The boy was reported to in critical condition.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Doctor facing malpractice suit wins key appellate court ruling

Doctor facing malpractice suit wins key appellate court ruling

Appeals court upholds ruling that expert witness doctor was not qualified to render opinion.
Updated: 9 hours ago
Pinellas hotels report 6 percent dip in room sales since Red Tide hit

Pinellas hotels report 6 percent dip in room sales since Red Tide hit

Pinellas County is still on track to break its bed-tax collection record, even though Red Tide has showed little sign of letting up.
Updated: 9 hours ago
Slain father: ‘If something happens to me, it’s going to be my son.’

Slain father: ‘If something happens to me, it’s going to be my son.’

Friends mourn the loss of Jim Costello, who said he feared his son. Tarpon Springs police say the son fatally shot his father after a fight over a dog.
Updated: 9 hours ago