2 Florida men accused of harassing gators, panthers

Alfredo Lopez de Queralta jail booking photo

MIAMI (AP) – Wildlife investigators have arrested two men who they say posted several videos that showed one of them handling federally protected Florida panther kittens and wrestling and harassing alligators.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrest reports says the incidents occurred in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

The men – 45-year-old Alfredo Lopez de Queralta and 42-year-old Javier Torres – were arrested Tuesday on eight felony counts each of killing, injuring or possessing alligators or eggs without authority and eight misdemeanor counts pertaining to handling or endangering threatened species.

The Miami Herald reports the investigation began when wildlife officers and agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and National Parks service watched a February 17, 2017, video posted on YouTube.

Florida panthers are listed as an endangered species. There are about 120-230 adult panthers.

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