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Florida alligator left for dead with eyes, snout taped

Gatorland is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the person responsible.
An alligator like this one at Gatorland in Orlando was left for dead on the Wekiwa River.
An alligator like this one at Gatorland in Orlando was left for dead on the Wekiwa River. [ GERALD LEONG / ORLANDO SENTINEL | Orlando Sentinel ]
Published May 6
Updated May 6

ORLANDO — Gatorland is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the person who taped shut an alligator’s eyes and snout, leaving it for dead.

“I was absolutely outraged, I mean that anyone would do that to any living creature,” Gatorland’s Savannah Boan told WKMG.

The incident happened last month when Barbara and Jack Thornton found the bound gator near the Wekiwa River in Seminole County. They called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the neighborhood also offered up a $500 reward for information, WESH reported.

The agency is continuing to investigate.

It is a felony to kill, capture or possess an alligator in Florida.

“I’m just blown away because this started as a Nextdoor post I made after we discovered and since then it’s absolutely snowballed,” said Jack Thornton.

Gatorland takes in distressed alligators, and Boan urged people to call them if they find one in need.

She said people who handle reptiles often cover their eyes to make them feel safe, especially if they are moving large gators. But she said it’s not OK to take a gator’s eyes and mouth shut.

“To do that to a wild alligator is absolutely I mean that is just something I have never even heard of before,” Boan said.