There is a new twist to the June 14 death-by-alligator incident involving 2-year-old Lane Graves at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
It turns out that Florida firefighters working in a station close to the scene of the tragedy had been feeding the alligators two months before the fatal attack.
In a series of emails to his staff, an employee of Reedy Creek Improvement District, which contracts emergency services to Disney World, warned of the potential of people being eaten by the gators. “Several people have expressed concern of becoming alligator food,” he put it. As such, he told his staff to “tell the firefighters to stop feeding the alligator,” the New York Daily News reports.
The Sun-Sentinel newspaper obtained three emails from April indicating that firefighters for Reedy Creek had tossed food to the gators at the fire station, just half a mile from the lagoon where Lane Graves was killed.
Feeding alligators is illegal in Florida because it reportedly causes the animals to lose their natural fear of humans.
Dan Lewis, the author of the emails in question, noted that the gators had become so unafraid of humans that they could be seen near the Reedy Creek parking lot:
They are coming out in the parking lot much more than others in the past and WE are the ones who have to walk in that parking lot every day and in the dark. They are not docile gators, they are mean and they are out looking for food because people are feeding them. It's getting uncomfortable…. As you can imagine this is making the communicators nervous because they are fearful of walking to their car and their leg becoming dinner…. We have notified Animal Control to remove the alligator. In the interim could you ask your crews to stop feeding the gator.”
Two months after Dan Lewis warned of people becoming alligator food, Lane Graves was dragged to his death by a nearby gator.