Firefighters Had Been Asked to Stop Feeding Alligators Near Disney World

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
July 14, 2016 Updated: July 14, 2016

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.  — Firefighters at Walt Disney World were warned to stop feeding alligators at one of the resort’s fire stations two months before an alligator killed a toddler.

According to emails obtained by Orlando Sentinel, Reedy Creek Emergency Services admonished firefighters for feeding at least one of two alligators at a station less than a half-mile from Seven Seas Lagoon where 2-year-old son Lane Graves of Omaha, Nebraska, was killed after being pulled into the water by a gator.

Orange County Sheriff's officers search the Seven Seas Lagoon between Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom theme park, left, and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., after a two-year-old toddler was dragged into the lake by an alligator. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Orange County Sheriff’s officers search the Seven Seas Lagoon between Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park, left, and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., after a two-year-old toddler was dragged into the lake by an alligator. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Feeding alligators is illegal.

The email said employees were afraid after one gator was spotted near the parking lot and asked officials to remove it.

Reedy Creek District Administrator John Classe said Disney’s animal-control department was contacted but he did not know whether either alligator was ever removed.

A Disney spokeswoman said Wednesday it was unclear whether the gator had been removed.

The feeding of alligators is illegal because it causes them to lose their natural fear of humans.

“You would think that the firefighters would be a little bit more in tune with the trouble that could cause and not do it,” David Hitzig,who is the  executive director of the Busch Wildlife Center, told the Sentinel. “You would figure they would have more common sense than that. … When you feed an alligator, you’re attracting it to people.”

Epoch Times contributed to this report, adding Hitzig’s quotes.