BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — FWC said they’ve launched a criminal investigation into a video shared on social media, showing a teenager using a machete to torture and kill and juvenile alligator in Bonita Springs.
Experts say it not only constitutes harassing an alligator, but also poaching. Now there could be some very real consequences for the teens who filmed themselves doing it.
Alex Link, a local Reptile handler in Lee County who has worked with alligators, was appalled when he saw the video. He said the gator was likely caught by accident while fishing, but there was no reason to kill it.
“It’s just brutal for no reason, 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.” Link said.
Experts said normally, it’s better to just cut the line, but striking it like 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 added.
On Friday, FWC confirmed that they’d seen the video and have launched a criminal investigation. Even though the boys in the video were likely under 18, legal experts say there should still be consequences.
“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.” said Pamela Seay, a Legal Expert from FGCU.
FWC said they would provide an update when charges are filed. So far, the teens in the video have not be identified.