Florida Teens Spark Police Investigation Filming Themselves Torturing, Killing an Alligator

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/WireImage)

Florida teens reportedly sparked an investigation after filming themselves torturing and killing a local alligator with a machete earlier this week.

According to NBC News, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is now launching a criminal investigation into the alligator incident at Bonita Springs. Authorities reported that the footage showed a young boy torturing the gator with a machete. This resulted in the animal’s death. 

Alex Link, who is. Local Reptile handler in Lee County, says the alligator was likely caught by accident while fishing. However, there was no reason to kill the animal. “It’s just brutal for no reason,” Link explained. “Accidentally catching an alligator when you are fishing down here is something that can happen, and there are ways to safely handle it and get it off your hook, whereas that was pure torture for no reason.”

It was also reported that while it’s better to just cut the line, striking the animal the way they did with a machete constitutes a felony. “You know, going after an alligator like that, not being a trapper, the way they went about it with a machete, that’s a felony charge, you could see up to 5 years, some serious fines,” Link continued. 

Pamela Seay, a legal expert from Florida Gulf Coast University, spoke about how the teens can be legally in trouble for their actions. “It would be a good outcome for these children to learn a lesson that they are not supposed to harass or kill a wild animal, or any animal. That should be part of a good outcome. The fact that they haven’t learned it so far is disturbing.”

Alligators Are Federally Protected By the Endangered Species Act as a Threatened Species 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the American alligator is federally protected by the Endangered Species Act. The animal is considered a threatened species. This is due to the similarity of appearance to the American crocodile. 

ClickOrlando also reports that it is a third-degree felony under Florida law to kill or injure an alligator. It is also considered a felony to capture and keep a gator or its eggs. Unless you purchase a special alligator trapping or farming license from the state. 

However, there are some rare circumstances in which someone can claim self-defense when it comes to an alligator. It’s noted that if a gator attacks a person or pet, the person may take action. But if the attack happens off their property, self-defense is hard to claim. 

Meanwhile, alligator incidents with humans are considered to still be rare. Wildlife officials say, “Reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators by swimming only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Also, keep pets on a leash and away from the water.”