A video of a massive alligator walking through a reserve near Lakeland, Florida, had people speculating earlier this week whether it was a hoax.
No. It’s real and now people are taking trips to the area to see the great alligator named, “Humpback,” for themselves.
The video, which was uploaded Sunday to Facebook by a Florida resident, shows the massive reptile appearing out of a nearby bush at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County, east of Tampa and then casually walking on the reserve’s Marsh Rabbit Run. Bystanders have since been seen flocking to the area to take pictures of the now-famous reptile.
Officials for the county’s natural resources division said that while they appreciate the attention the nature reserve has been getting, they are also worried about the safety of visitors and wildlife.
“We’re really nervous about people being foolish and doing things they shouldn’t do,” said Jeff Spence, director of Polk County Natural Resources, at a news conference Wednesday. “We don’t want people just going wherever they can go to try to get a picture of this.”
One individual was even asked to leave by park officials after he jumped off a viewing platform and ran back to a piece of land that was not a trail just so he could try to get a photograph of this gator.
The 13-feet plus-long alligator has “lived his life out here, and we want him to live the remainder of his life out here,” Spence said. “We don’t want to have to destroy him because somebody was doing something they should not have been doing.”
Despite the reserve’s newfound fame, park regulations have not changed. Visitors are still required to stay on the trails. They are not allowed to approach nor feed any animals they encounter. Heehee.
I’m thinking of a group of attractive, young oblivious ones, walking along looking down at their phones or looking up into their phones, taking a selfie.