Rescued alligators from Midwest find warm forever home in Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — Gatorland is excited to welcome two new residents to its facility in Orlando. The pair of gators, David and Casanova, came from Illinois this week and now can call Gatorland their forever home.

David, the “Lake Michigan Alligator,” was made famous about two years ago when he was found floating with his mouth taped shut in the frigid waters of Waukegan Harbor 35 miles north of Downtown Chicago.

#waukeganpolice - It is not every day someone reports an alligator in Lake Michigan and the report is true. This time...

Posted by City of Waukegan on Monday, October 8, 2018

The City of Waukegan’s Facebook post on David was viewed by more than 1.1 million visitors worldwide.

Fisherman David Castaneda rescued the gator and took him to the Wildlife Discovery Center at Elawa Farm in nearby Lake Forest.

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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. David was also fighting infections, and his liver was completely shut down. The Center was able to nurse the sick gator back to health.

“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.”

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Casanova, a 30-year-old American Alligator who was rescued from a drug “crack” house, will also be joining David at the “Alligator Capital of the World™.” Before coming to Gatorland, Casanova, another Wildlife Discovery Center alligator, spent 20 years crammed in a 40-gallon-tank with no light or heat, and fed one goldfish a month.

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“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.

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