Walt Disney World is putting up new signs warning visitors about the alligators that swim in its resort waterways, after one of the reptiles attacked and killed a toddler.
An alligator snatched two-year-old Lane Graves last week and dragged him into the Seven Seas Lagoon as he played along the shore at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
His body was recovered after a 16-hour search. The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause of death was drowning and “traumatic injuries”, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Shortly after that report, the Daily Mail online and various US news outlets published pictures of a sign they said Disney was about to install at the fatal spot, and elsewhere. The sign says: “Danger. Alligators and snakes in area. Stay away from the water. Do not feed the wildlife.”
There was already a sign on the beach saying: “No Swimming”.
The tragedy was the second incident in the US in recent weeks where an animal has seized a child in an area open to tourists. In late May, zoo staff shot dead an endangered gorilla after a four-year-old boy fell into its enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio and the gorilla seized the child. The shooting produced an online backlash, with some people blaming the child’s parents and others saying the gorilla had in fact been trying to protect the child, and calling for a boycott of the zoo.
Less than a week before the Cincinnati gorilla shooting, a zookeeper in Chile shot dead two lions in front of a horrified crowd of zoo visitors. The zookeeper acted to save the life of a naked man, suspected to be insane, who had forced his way into the animals’ cage in an apparent bid to be killed and eaten. See: Zookeeper shoots lions dead to save naked madman
Written by Peter Needham