One woman stepped into action to help an alligator with half of its mouth missing.
Eustacia Kanter first witnessed the injured reptile while on a walk with her dog in Sanford, Florida.
“At first, my brain couldn’t comprehend that its entire upper jaw was missing. When I realized, I felt terrible for him and snapped as good a photo as I could get with my cell phone standing at a distance so that I could share it and try to find help,” she told FOX 35 News.
Kanter sought help for the animal by reaching out to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. (FWC). She also contacted Katrina Shadix, the executive director of Bear Warriors United, a wildlife and environmental nonprofit organization.
“I get many messages every week from members who find wildlife in distress and know that I have connections with FWC to get help,” Shadix explained.
Shadix said she received a Facebook message from Kanter and was sent a photo of the alligator.
She then contacted Gatorland, FWC’s emergency dispatch line, and her friend, Kim Titterington, who is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. According to the outlet, Titterington and Gatorland were willing to help, but the reptile would need to be delivered by FWC.
A spokesperson for Gatorland said they were waiting to hear back from FWC and assured they were willing to rescue the reptile for an assessment to “determine its survivability.”
Speaking on the reptile’s condition, Titterington told FOX 35 News the alligator’s snout has been missing for a while due to the injury being scarred and healed.
“It’s not recent,” she said.
Additionally, Titterington gave insight into what could have potentially caused the alligator’s injury in the first place. This includes “an entanglement with another alligator or predator” or being caught in a snare trap.
The reptile has been surviving on invertebrates, carrion, “or other slow, small-moving prey for food to sustain itself,” according to Titterington.
Despite their efforts, the rescue mission has been unsuccessful so far. In an email to Shadix from FWC, the Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program has been on the lookout for the alligator but to no avail.
“If we can safely capture the alligator, we have a licensed facility that has agreed to house and care for it,” the email stated.
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