One Georgia man literally took the safety of his local community into his own hands earlier this week when he dragged a seven-foot alligator by the tail away from playground equipment and sent it back into the water.
Marquell T. White spotted a gator in the brush near some playground equipment in Bowles C. Ford Park in Savannah, Georgia, and was worried about the danger it posed to others. So he managed to cover the gator's eyes with what appears to be a long-sleeved shirt, snuck around behind the gator, grabbed its tail, and just started dragging, despite the gator's frequent thrashings.
Once the gator was safely in the water, White celebrated his victory. "I got it! I'm a monster!" he told the person filming the video.
White later told reporters that he didn't know what he was doing, but he did know that what he was doing was risky.
"It was a healthy fear. I respected the power that I knew the gator had," he said.
And while White was relieved that, for the moment, that particular gator was no longer much of a danger to park goers, he remains concerned about lapses in park maintenance which enabled a gator to hide itself in the brush in the first place.
"But it wasn't just the fact that the gator was there," he said, "because gators come and go. You couldn't see the gator because of the grass and the foliage."
White now hopes that city authorities will prioritize park safety by regularly mowing and removing brush so that people may be aware of alligators and other dangerous animals lurking in the area.
City alderwoman Alicia Miller-Blakely agrees.
“This park should’ve been developed back in the ‘80′s,” she said. “Somebody dropped the ball.”
The city released a statement after the video went viral, saying "[t]here have been servicing delays partly due to the abundance of rain experienced recently."
WOTC spoke with a man identified as Trapper Jack, a licensed catcher in the state of Georgia, about the incident, and Trapper Jack noted that White was lucky that no one got hurt. Interacting with gators "is very, very dangerous," he warned, for the person interacting with them "and whoever may be watching.”
It's also illegal, he said.
"Nobody else can do that legally. And when someone's messing with an alligator anywhere, they're breaking the law," he said.
White is not expected to face any charges for removing the alligator from the park.