Disney is giving $30 to Florida trappers who catch gators on its behalf. 250 big ones have been fished out of Walt Disney World in the last 5 years.

Gators and Disney
Disney is paying Florida’s gator trappers $30 for every reptile they catch on its property. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
  • Disney is enlisting the help of Floridian alligator trappers to remove nuisance gators from its properties.
  • Each gator caught earns a trapper $30. Some 250 reptiles were removed from Disney’s Orlando property in the last five years.
  • The trapping program started after a toddler was killed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in 2016.
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There’s a gator problem in Disney World and it has nothing to do with Captain Hook. To clear Disney’s properties of roaming reptiles, Florida’s gator trappers are coming to the rescue, and are being paid $30 for every reptile they catch.

The zealous drive to rid Disney of wandering gators started after Lane Thomas Graves, 2, was attacked and killed by one of the creatures on a beach at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in June 2016.

The Washington Post reported in 2017 that Disney World was crawling with gators even before the tragic incident, noting that more than 220 alligators were removed from its Orlando property in the ten years from May 2006 and August 2015.

Around 250 gators were removed from Disney properties over the last five years, per a report by the Orlando Sentinel.

The Sentinel spoke to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) spokeswoman Tammy Sapp, who said most of the Disney gators were euthanized. According to Disney’s agreement with the trappers, they can keep the profits reaped from the gator leather and meat sold.

Other alligators are sent to farms, exhibits, and zoos, while gators under 1.22m are relocated, said Sapp.

“The FWC takes public safety seriously and uses Targeted Harvest Area (THA) permits as part of a comprehensive effort to achieve alligator management goals,” Sapp told the Orlando Sentinel. “THA permits allow a managing authority to work directly with a designated FWC contracted nuisance alligator trapper, making the process for removing nuisance alligators more proactive and streamlined.”

According to the Florida FWC, there are around 1.3 million alligators in Florida alone. But not all of them can be considered a nuisance – the state mandates that alligators must be at least 1.22m long and pose a threat to people, pets, and property in order to be removed.

Per the Florida FWC, the agency receives around 17,000 alligator complaints across the state and proactively removes close to 8,000 alligators every year.