Captured gator photographed with bunny ears is killed

What started out as what one South Florida woman thought would be a harmless photo has led to a somber ending. 

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A Royal Palm Beach homeowner called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Sunday saying a 5-foot-long gator had been hanging around her property for a month and a half. It got too close for comfort, and out of fear for the safety of her 2-year-old child, she wanted it gone.

When a trapper arrived, the homeowner, who did not want to be identified, had just finished an Easter egg hunt. As the alligator’s mouth was taped shut and a leash was around its neck, she placed bunny ears on top of it and snapped a photo. 

She said she was told that gator would be relocated. Never did she think that “relocated” would mean killed.

The FWC later said that killing the animal was necessary to avoid any future problems.

“Relocating nuisance alligators is not a responsible option for people or alligators,” FWC Public Information Coordinator Carol Lyn Parrish said in an email. “Relocated alligators often try to return to their capture site and can create problems for people or other alligators along the way.”

The alligator trappers, who work under contract with the FWC, are not state employees, and oftentimes an alligator that is processed for hide and meat is the primary source of their compensation.