FWC: Gator responsible for killing boy at Disney removed

Photo of Lane Graves from the Orange County Sheriff's Office

ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) – The alligator responsible for the attack that killed a boy at a Walt Disney World resort has been removed from the Seven Seas Lagoon, officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said on Wednesday.

An alligator thought to be about 7-ft. long snatched the little boy as he waded in shallow water at dusk on June 14. The beach was located on a man-made lake and had “no swimming” signs,  but there were no alligator warning signs.

RELATED: Nebraska family ‘devastated’ by fatal gator attack at Disney

The boy’s body was found less than a day later. Since the accident, Disney has added alligator warning signs and a fence around the lake.

RELATED: Sheriff: Gator drowned boy, 2, at Disney beach; body recovered

FWC crews began conducting humane gator trapping in the area shortly after the attack and removed a total of six alligators as of June 16.  FWC officials say they are confident the gator responsible for the attack was among the alligators that were trapped. They based their conclusion on expert analysis and observations by their staffers who have extensive experience in gator bite investigations.

FWC shared these investigation details:

  • FWC Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program trappers captured three alligators in the size range believed to fit the subject animal.
  • Two of the animals captured were in close proximity to the incident location. Based on past experience, the alligator responsible is usually located in close proximity to the attack site.
  • Round-the-clock monitoring and trapping efforts have not produced alligators of the size capable of the attack since June 16.
  • In total, FWC humanely removed six alligators from the immediate area of the attack. This area is poor alligator habitat that will not support a large population of adult alligators.
  • FWC subject matter experts are very confident that, based on the totality of the evidence, the alligator responsible for the attack has been removed.
  • While results of a bite analysis were inconclusive, subject matter experts were able to conclude that either of the two suspect alligators captured near the attack site were capable of inflicting the observed wounds.
  • DNA was collected from the victim and all alligators captured. Results from the victim’s wounds were negative for animal DNA, and no comparison could be made.

“There are no words to describe the profound sadness we feel for the family of Lane Graves,” said Nick Wiley, executive director of the FWC. “We will continue to keep this family close to our hearts as they deal with the pain and grief of the loss of Lane.”

FWC officials reminded Floridians and visitors to call the agency’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286) if they see a dangerous reptile.

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