So by now you may have heard the news about the two 700 lb+ alligators caught in Mississippi. It’s unfortunate to see these alligators trapped and killed. Because, likely somewhere between 40-50 years old, these were no ordinary creatures. These were animals that had found a way to beat the odds; live under the radar and successfully survive for a long time in the wild.
Some are luckier than others. At 800 pounds, 14 feet long, and more than 50 years old, alligator ‘Mighty Mike‘ is literally a living, breathing dinosaur.
Thirteen years ago, he nearly encountered a similar fate of the Mississippi alligators, if not for the foresight and concern of a handful of caring individuals. Back in October 2000, word spread fast that a giant alligator had been caught in Lake Talquin, west of Tallahassee, Florida. The alligator had been caught after a private citizen filed a complaint with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Mighty Mike was declared a nuisance. Since especially large alligators are considered a threat, his future seemed bleak.
Luckily for Mighty Mike (and to everyone who has gotten to know and love the big guy!) local experts intervened, recognizing that Mighty Mike was special and shouldn’t be killed. Today Mighty Mike serves as a traveling ambassador for the American Alligator. He has captivated millions of people who have marveled at his incredible size, and has helped to increase public awareness of the importance of alligators in the wild and their value as a sustainable natural resource.
Mighty Mike’s story of survival stands as an example of the impact that be made if alligators like these are relocated to mutually safer areas; instead creating positive encounters with humans and eventually gaining more respect for this incredible animal.
Don’t miss your chance to meet the one and only Mighty Mike at Adventure Aquarium, now through September 16.