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Well-fed alligator leads to partial closure of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

'Resist the temptation to feed wildlife,' authorities say in Facebook post
Posted at 11:10 AM, May 01, 2024

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A portion of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public because of a well-fed alligator.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the pond lily pavilion area was closed for the safety of wildlife and the public.

"An alligator has lost its fear of humans due to visitors feeding the animals," a post on the refuge's Facebook page said.

"Resist the temptation to feed wildlife," it went on to say. "When you feed wildlife, the animal begins to recognize that they can receive food from humans. This can cause the animal to begin approaching humans on sight, instead of fleeing."

According to the Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, it is home to one of the largest populations of alligators in the Florida Everglades.

The reptile is generally euthanized if an alligator becomes reliant on people for food.

"A fed gator is a dead gator," the refuge's Facebook post said.

Anyone caught feeding wildlife can face a fine of up to $100,000 and a year in jail.

As recently as 2019, a woman who accidentally stepped on a gator at the refuge was taken to a hospital after it bit her on the leg.