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ESTERO, Fla. (AP) — A 74-year-old man leaped right into a Florida pond and wrestled open the jaws of an alligator that lunged from the water to assault his 3-month-old pet.
The rescue final month was captured on video by cameras positioned within the space to doc wildlife. Florida Wildlife Federation employees found the assault once they checked the digicam’s reminiscence card final week, based on the company’s regional coverage director, Meredith Budd.
Richard Wilbanks advised the Information Press he was strolling Gunner, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, alongside the pond’s shoreline close to his dwelling within the southwestern Florida village of Estero on Oct. 25 when a 4-foot (1.2-meter) gator lunged from the water and grabbed the canine.
Wilbanks jumped into the water and pried open the gator’s jaws, releasing the frightened pet.
“It was like a missile,” Wilbanks advised the newspaper. “We were only about 3 feet away from it, but it struck like a snake. It had Gunner in a vise grip and I just rushed in.”
The video reveals Wilbanks wrestling with the gator on the water’s edge.
The assault left each Wilbanks and Gunner bleeding. Wilbanks and his spouse took Gunner to an animal hospital the place medical doctors discovered a puncture wound. He mentioned X-rays confirmed just some water within the lungs, and the pet stayed on the hospital for a number of days to get well.
The cameras within the Wilbanks’ neighborhood are a part of a partnership between the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Basis, Budd mentioned.
There are 17 cameras throughout 15 properties in Estero as a part of what the 2 foundations name Sharing the Panorama. Staff periodically verify the reminiscence playing cards, which solely maintain a sure variety of photos. The cameras sometimes seize movies of deer and bobcats, she mentioned.
“We don’t just want to tolerate wildlife, but, rather, we want to thrive with wildlife on a shared landscape,” Budd mentioned.
The purpose of the venture is for owners who reside in and round nature to grasp the worth of wildlife, she mentioned.
“While this video was shocking and I’m glad everyone was OK, I’m glad it’s a learning opportunity for the importance of respecting wildlife and taking precautions to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”