Last month, the “Alligator Capital of the World,” welcomed David, the “Lake Michigan Alligator,” to his new forever home.
David is the famous alligator who was discovered in October 2018 floating with his mouth taped shut in the frigid waters of Waukegan Harbor, 35 miles north of downtown Chicago.
Fisherman David Castaneda reeled in the alligator (which was later named after him) and it was taken to the Wildlife Discovery Center at Elawa Farm in nearby Lake Forest. The City of Waukegan’s Facebook post on David was viewed by more than 1.1 million visitors worldwide.
“We are thrilled to welcome David to our Gatorland family, and provide him a wonderful ‘retirement’ home here in beautiful Florida,” said Mark McHugh, President and CEO of Gatorland. “Through our Gatorland Global conservation program, we have helped dozens of alligators just like him through our mission to Protect, Conserve, and Educate.”
According to Rob Carmichael, Curator of the Wildlife Discovery Center, when David was rescued, he was very weak, weighed just 16.3 pounds and was only 52 inches long. He regurgitated pieces of plastic and rubber that he had ingested, he was fighting infections, and his liver was completely shut down. Miraculously, the Center was able to gradually nurse David back to health, but Carmichael decided it was now time for David to come live in alligator paradise at Gatorland. “Gatorland’s commitment to excellent care and lots of hands-on interaction closely aligns with our philosophies. I can’t think of a better place for David to live out his life,” he said.
Joining David is another Wildlife Discovery Center alligator named Casanova, a 30-year-old American Alligator who was rescued from a drug “crack” house where he spent 20 years crammed in a 40-gallon-tank with no light or heat, and fed on goldfish. “Casanova also deserves a place like Gatorland to live out his life. These two gators hit the jackpot,” added Carmichael.
David and Casanova are among more than 40 alligators and crocodiles that Gatorland has rescued or given new homes to as part of the Gatorland Global Conservation Program.
Gatorland is a 110-acre park combining Old Florida charm with exciting experiences, exhibits, and entertainment. Named Best Non-Theme Park Attraction by the readers of Orlando magazine in the Best of ORL 2020 Reader Poll and the winner of four awards in Orlando Weekly’s Best of Orlando® 2020 Reader Poll, including Best Place To Show People the Real Orlando, and Best Attraction That’s Not A Theme Park.
Gray Line Orlando have been a proud partner of Gatorland since 1993. We offer admission tickets and also the park is featured in our Gators, Gators, Gators Tour in combination with an Airboat Ride! Be sure to come and join us, and look out for these 2 amigos!
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