Whisper Gator: Biologist Chris Gillette aims to debunk stigma surrounding Florida predator – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

(WSVN) – A South Florida man wants to change the stigma surrounding one of Florida’s top predators. 7’s Kevin Ozebek has today’s 7 Spotlight.

To you, they might be lean, mean killing machines, but biologist Chris Gillette sees them differently.

Chris Gillette: “They are thinking and intelligent animals. I have a lot of alligators that are better trained than most people’s dogs.

Kevin Ozebek: “You’re kidding.”

Chris Gillette: “No, 100%. I have alligators, like, where they know their name.

And Chris can prove it.

Chris Gillette: “Snoopy!”

Kevin Ozebek: “You are the alligator whisperer.”

Watch Snoopy walk up to Chris’ hand.

Kevin Ozebek: “So my heart is racing here at the moment, but are you okay? You are as calm as a cucumber.

Chris Gillette: Yeah, yeah. It’s normal.”

It’s normal because it’s Chris’s passion and job. He has become a social media star interacting with the alligators he rescues.

When the alligators end up swimming in pools and ponds, the state asks Chris to remove them. Florida law states that nuisance alligators over 4 feet cannot be returned to the wild.

Chris Gillette: “Usually the nuisance alligators are unfortunately killed, okay? Normally, they kill about 8,000 nuisance alligators each year in the state of Florida.

But as Chris sees it…

Chris Gillette: “Every living animal has the right to exist.”

He’ll never kill an alligator, so some of the bigger ones he catches end up at Broward County’s Everglades Vacation Park.

Here, Chris entertains and educates with these huge reptiles.

Chris Gillette: “We only protect what we love, and we only love what we know, and we only know what we’re taught, right?”

Some of Chris’ videos have gone viral. They are amazing to see.

Chris Gillette: “Look at this big boy. That’s a good alligator right there.

But Chris says the message here isn’t that alligators are cute. It’s because they deserve respect.

Chris Gillette: “He would eat me 100%. I wish he loves me. I love it; he does not like me. It’s an alligator, not a labrador.

And despite his ability to hold an adult alligator, Chris also teaches never to interact with them in the wild.

Chris Gillette: “I have permits, I’ve done this all my life. I work in approved establishments. Never try this by yourself.

Although Chris is best known for his work with the Florida alligator, he is a lover of all animals.

From rescued pigs, chickens and parrots, Chris runs a non-profit animal rescue from his own home.

But it’s the native animals that really hold a special place in her heart.

Chris Gillette: “I love Florida. I was born and raised in Florida, so the animals we have here in Florida are definitely dear to me.

That, of course, includes the alligator, and after seeing one recognize its own name, Chris hopes you’ll have a newfound respect for them, too.

Kevin Ozebek, 7News.

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