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FWC offers safety tips after gator incident on Sanibel

By TIFFANY REPECKI - | Dec 28, 2022

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommended precautionary measures for people when near alligators, including in or near water, after a man was recently bitten by one.

“Serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida,” Senior Officer Adam Brown said.

He offered the following suggestions to reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators:

• Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator. If someone is concerned about an alligator, they should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286), and it will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation.

• Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.

• Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and without your pet. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.

• Never feed an alligator. It is illegal and dangerous. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food. This can lead to dangerous circumstances for yourself and other people who could encounter the alligator in the future.

“The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program. The goal is to proactively address alligator threats in developed areas, while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur,” Brown said. “SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property.”

On Dec. 15 at 11:06 a.m., the Sanibel Police Department received a 911 call about a man who was bitten by an alligator in a pond that is adjacent to the location of 2477 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

The FWC reported that the victim was a 25-year-old man.

When officers arrived on scene, it was determined that the man was using the pond to wash his hands when he was bit, police reported. The man was able to free himself from the alligator and call 911.

Individuals on scene were able to apply a tourniquet until medical assistance arrived.

Police reported that it was determined that the man had sustained a serious injury to his right forearm from the alligator. He was subsequently transported to a hospital for treatment by Lee County EMS.

The victim’s medical status was unknown as of press time.

The FWC reported that a contracted trapper was dispatched to the scene, where an alligator measuring 9 feet 2 inches was removed from the property. It was humanely killed by the trapper and processed.

Responding assisting agencies included the SPD, Sanibel Fire and Rescue District and Lee EMS, plus members of the Orlando Police Department, Jacksonville Beach Police Department, Panama City Police Department and St. Petersburg Police Department who were assisting in post-hurricane efforts.

“Our paradise island is shared with various wildlife species. Please remember to be careful and respect our wildlife in all bodies of water,” the fire district shared. “These types of incidents are preventable.”

For more about FWC, please visit https://myfwc.com/.

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