Average Floridians aren’t exactly fans of alligators. But most people don’t want them to suffer, either.
On Monday, The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Crawfordville, south of Tallahassee in Wakulla County, shared a disturbing video.
It was shot by a local, Corine Samwell, who had been to the park on Sunday.
The short clip shows a gator chomping on what appears to be a plastic bag, “presumably containing something it considered edible,” reads the caption.
The reptile looks as if it is having trouble swallowing, but eventually gets its toxic meal down.
Off camera, you can hear a woman softly groan.
The park goes on to say this incident is “a strong reminder” for people to secure their trash and take it with them when heading home.
The post ends with a plea for visitors to the area to be on the lookout for a “gator in distress or one trailing a rope or string.”
“Help protect our wildlife.”
Most FB viewers were duly perturbed. A sampling of comments:
“That’s disturbing. Way to go, humans.”
“Oh no, this isn’t good at all.”
As of Wednesday, the status of the alligator is unclear.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, discarded plastic is one of the biggest threats to wildlife and the marine ecosystem today.
Since the bag cannot be digested or passed, the plastic stays in the animal’s gut, often causing a slow and painful death.