Saturday, September 22, 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

Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

TRINITY — What at first looked like a defensive stalemate between Clearwater and Mitchell quickly turned into a rout.Clearwater had revenge on its mind Friday night after a 45-28 loss to Mitchell last year during the the regular seaso...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

TAMPA — The decision was made as soon as Hillsborough got the ball back. Trailing by a touchdown with just over four minutes remaining against Tampa Bay Tech, the Terriers had the ball on their own 6-yard line.They hadn't been able to move the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

LARGO — The offense was relentless and merciless Friday night, but that has been the case a lot recently. Largo is scoring points in bunches and getting contributions from everyone. Add in a defense that has been smothering, as well as a special team...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays bounce back big after a debacle

Rays bounce back big after a debacle

TORONTO — The way the Rays played Friday — all nine innings, lesson learned — in beating the Jays 11-3 provided the best answer on how, or even if, they could rebound from the crushing loss the night before that all but ended their ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Football: Sickles 7, Freedom 3

TAMPA — Sickles needed a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter to escape Freedom 7-3 on Homecoming and remain in the hunt for a Class 7A, District 8 title.Gryphons coach Patrick Murphy knew that facing the Patriots would be a battle. Freedom (1-...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Football: Armwood 24, Jefferson 14

SEFFNER — Armwood is becoming accustomed to winning close games.The Hawks fended off visiting Jefferson 24-14 in a defensive battle that featured a plethora of holding penalties in the second half.Armwood (3-1) earned two rushing touchdowns from juni...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Football: Plant 44, Gaither 34

TAMPA — Seventy-eight points. Eight hundred and 40 yards in total offense. Five players surpassing the century mark in yardage.When the game was over Friday, Plant had the edge in every category — including the scoreboard as the Panthers (3-1) opened...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Football: Robinson 28, Blake 25

TAMPA — Nevermind that Blake scored a go-ahead touchdown with 87 seconds left in the game.Forgive him, but part of Robinson junior Lateef Al-Shaa’ir was hoping it would happen just so it would set up a comeback.And it did.With 24 seconds left in the ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Football: St. Petersburg 23, Gibbs 6

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg’s Aumhryaun Brown’s two touchdowns helped overcome the ejection of quarterback Tonio Shavers as the Green Devils cruised to a 23-6 win against Gibbs on Friday.As time expired during the first half, with the Green Devil...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Football: Plant City 24, East Bay 7

GIBSONTON — Plant City’s high-powered passing game gets most of the attention. But the Raiders’ defense is just as responsible for the team’s unbeaten start.In Plant City’s 24-7 road victory against East Bay in Class 7A, District 9 on Friday, the def...
Updated: 6 hours ago