An alligator bit off the hand of a man fishing in Lake Trafford on Thursday. This is the lake I take people to for an airboat ride on our tour. Lake Trafford has an estimated 3000 adult alligators. It is the highest concentration of alligators per acre in the world.
Read the news article and watch the video (which is hilarious for the reporting alone).
Currently due to the drought, the lake is 7 feet below normal. That's bad and that means the alligators are packed in like sardines. It also means that people can't fish from the pier. Their worms would just hit mud when they cast out. Instead some of the locals have turned to cast netting which involves walking out into the lake (full of alligators) and casting their net in the hopes of catching fish.
(photo not mine)
Normally the fishermen wade out with helpers. One to watch for alligators and the others to haul in their catch. It's still dangerous but the fish are free and Tilapia costs $4.99 lb at the local Winn Dixie. I don't know this man. I don't know his situation. I don't know how desperate his situation is. For all I know this is the only way he can put food on the table. Is he an idiot? No. Is he taking a risk? Absolutely.
His hand will not be reattached.
Another sad result of this dangerous behavior is that an alligator ended up getting culled. Fish and Wildlife reported catching the 6 foot gator after an hour of looking. This is preposterous. To find the alligator in that lake (which is full of alligators) is like finding 2 snowflakes that look like alligators. It's that ridiculous. So instead, to quell panic and fear of a man eating alligator they no doubt killed the first alligator they could find.
So I feel bad for Luis Hernandez who may or may not have had to wade into a lake (full of alligators) to feed himself. I'm sure he didn't want to lose his hand but he might as well have had a sign on that said "Bite Me" (Muérdeme en Español)