Gatorland, a wildlife park in central Florida, recently welcomed a new resident to the attraction – a rescued alligator who had been living with the top half of his jaw missing. The 20-year-old male alligator was found in a nearby drainage ditch in December. Though the original injury has not been determined, the vet team caring for him speculates it was likely caused by a boat propeller or due to a collision with another alligator.
Gatorland staffers and volunteers tended to the alligator and helped nurse him back to health. He is now thriving in the park’s safe, natural environment. Gatorland has taken it upon themselves to provide the alligator with a permanent home where he can enjoy a quality life.
The park is raising funds to provide prosthetic care, which is essential for the animal to be able to live a full life. Specialists will be customizing a new device to fit over his upper jaw, and the team will use food rewards and training to teach the alligator how to use the prosthetic.
On behalf of the team at Gatorland, the rescued alligator was given the name ‘Kelly’ after the late Steve Irwin’s daughter, Bindi – who is a longtime supporter of Gatorland. Kelly’s story has been a positive reminder that even those who have known tragedy and suffering can be provided with an opportunity to thrive and live a full and complete life.