On June 14th, 2016, at 9pm an alligator attacked a 2-year old boy at Disney World in Florida. The victim was Lane Graves, the son of Matt Graves. This fatal attack could have been prevented if the proper precautions had been taken. There were no signs warning that alligators were there, and people were caught off guard.
Nearly one-third of Walt Disney World property is set aside as a conservation area that attracts many kinds of wildlife. Mixing people and wild animals is always a dangerous combination for both man and beast. The resort area is frequented by tourists and should have been closed off from the conservation area. Wild animals and people should have been kept apart.
This attack has brought out the gross mismanagement and abuse of alligators in Florida. After the boy was attacked, the authorities located his body nearby. There was a frantic search to find the alligator that had attacked the boy. Five alligators were quickly killed by the officials as they tried to determine by “teeth marks” on the body just which alligator had killed him.
Killing the five alligators could not bring back the boy, and it was a futile attempt by the authorities to make a showing in the face of a tragedy that should have never happened in the first place. The fact that the authorities resorted to killing alligators that had not done anything wrong was a big mistake, and then to have not properly warned people of the danger was a betrayal of trust in the Disney World establishment.
It would be easy to blame the alligator that killed the boy, but that would be a misjudgment. The alligator did not know right from wrong and should never be judged as a criminal. If anybody is to blame for the tragedy, it is the Disney World organization, which is negligent in protecting both people and wildlife.
The real criminals are the so-called authorities who follow a protocol of overkill in dealing with wild animals involved in attacks on people. The Fish and Wildlife agencies in Florida often kill alligators and black bears unnecessarily when they could live trap these animals and relocate them in other areas.
Misled authorities are killing alligators just for being alligators. Any normal alligators anywhere will attack and eat any prey they can find; they do not get addicted to human flesh and should never be treated like serial killers!
Before there can be any kind of true justice for wild animals, a lot of antiquated laws must be changed. Wild animals must be treated like wild animals, and they must be provided with a place of their own in the world. All "farming” of wild animals must be “outlawed”, which means no bison, elk, deer, alligators and other wild animals can be raised and commercially exploited. Wild animals should stay wild and free.
This tragedy at Walt Disney World in Florida is a wake-up call about the unnecessary killing of alligators in Florida. A perfect balance between the natural world of wild animals and the artificial world of people can only be obtained through competent people working in the Fish and Wildlife organizations and law enforcement departments. The present-day laws have to be changed before there will ever be any justice for wild animals.
--Marlin O. Wallace