Resort Asks Guests Not to 'Harass' Wildlife After Man Grabs Gator: It's 'Illegal and Dangerous'
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the since-identified man will be charged with molesting an alligator, facing a $100 to $150 fine or 30 days behind bars, The State reports
A man has been charged with "molesting an alligator" after a photo surfaced that showed him grabbing one of the animals by its tail near a body of water at the Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort in South Carolina.
In a Saturday Facebook post, reps for the St. Helena Island-based retreat posted the snapshot in question, which showed the man bending down behind the large reptile and wrapping his hands around the end of its tail as a second man took a photo from several feet away.
"Fripp Island Resort would like to remind all of our residents, guests, and visitors that Fripp is a wildlife habitat," the post read. "Harassment, enticement, or feeding of wildlife is both illegal and dangerous."
"We are sharing this incident in hopes that the violators will be found, not to encourage this behavior," it continued.
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While an investigation was underway as of Saturday, according to the post (which also asked for help identifying the man), USA Today reports that authorities have since identified the man who grabbed the alligator.
"The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has identified the man in the photo, and he will be charged with molesting an alligator, according to spokesperson David Lucas," a statement to the outlet reads.
"Molesting an alligator is a misdemeanor [charge] and carries a fine between $100 to $150 or 30 days in prison," it continued.
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Lucas said in a statement to the outlet, "It's against the law and this guy is going to pay a pretty hefty price. But the safety issue is so much more serious than that. You could lose your life."
According to The State, this incident comes almost eight years after a settlement involving the resort — over a 2009 attack in which a gator on the property bit off a man's arm — was reached.