This is the moment Richard Wilbanks wrestles an alligator to save his dog’s life.
“He just came out like a missile,” said Richard Wilbanks. “They’re like children to us. So, there was no second thought whatsoever.”
Wilbanks pried open the gator’s mouth and saved his dog, Gunner.
“He had one little puncture wound and I had… my hands were just chewed up,” said Wilbanks.
Even after being dragged underwater in the jaws of a gator Gunner is doing just fine.
“Fortunately, I was in a position that I was able to save Gunner’s life,” said Wilbanks.
But how did this terrifying encounter get recorded – the answer – a partnership between the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Foundation.
“The video was jarring to watch,” said Meredith Budd, Regional Policy Director of the Florida Wildlife Federation.
They typically capture videos of things like deer or bobcats but not this. And it’s all part of a campaign called ‘Sharing the Landscape.’
“We live on a shared landscape, we don’t just want to tolerate wildlife, but rather we want to thrive with wildlife on a shared landscape,” said Budd.
Their goal is to help people appreciate and understand the wildlife they live near and by doing so help reduce the conflicts that can sometimes happen between people and nature.
“It gives us a new appreciation. We do need to be aware they are wild animals. They’re not here for our benefit. We’re very luck to share this space with them.” said Louise Wilbanks.
Gunner’s now a little hesitant getting near the water but because Wilbanks calls this a learning experience he’s keeping gunner away from the water now and always on a leash.
“I would like to emphasize for people that have pets is to make sure that they keep them away from the edge of the water,” said Wilbanks.
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