People Wrestle Alligators in Australia to Take the Eggs Away to Safety

Category: World / Dec 28, 2012 3:14PM EDT
People were wrestling alligators at a wildlife park in Somersby, Australia, on Friday (December 28) to capture the eggs and take them away to safety. It's called nest raiding, and it's a spectacular but dangerous task that happens every year at the Australian Reptile Park, which is about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Sydney. It takes at least three brave people to restrain a female alligator, while others raid the nest and steal the eggs which are used for a breeding programme. The alligator's jaws can produce a lethal force, and around 40 other alligators were lurking in a nearby lagoon. "There are a couple of reasons we need to remove the eggs," said Tim Faulkner, Executive Manager of Operations at the Australian Reptile Park. "One is that alligators are cannibals. If they hatched in here they would be eaten by all other alligators." The climate around the Sydney region is also too hot for the eggs to hatch naturally. Some wildlife experts kept watch to make sure other alligators didn't emerge from the lagoon as the humans were not welcome and the female was getting agitated. "Female 'gators, they pack a powerful punch, because she's defending a nest and that means she's giving it her all," Faulkner explained. While they were retrieving the eggs a giant male emerged from the lagoon. "And we're not sure whether he is top dog, or he's trying to become top dog, but he's causing problems in here for alligators and us," Faulkner added. The wildlife officers took no chances, and restrained both alligators. Fifteen eggs were collected, and taken away to be incubated in a safe environment. Baby alligators are expected to hatch after 70 days of incubation. When the male was finally released, it lunged at a television crew filming the event. Fortunately, the crew made a quick getaway.