Director of wildlife sanctuary addresses gator attacks and relocating the facility


Amy Kight–executive director of Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, a multifaceted operation in Jupiter, Florida serving as wildlife refuge, veterinary hospital, rehabilitation facility, and education center—discusses the deadly alligator attack last month in Fort Pierce.

Kight, whose expertise about the gator attack had been sought in various platforms (including the local NBC affiliate), addresses the protocols and philosophies behind euthanizing an alligator who’s killed someone, and removing ones who haven’t been involved in an attack, as happened in the case of this Fort Pierce community.

More broadly, she offers advisories for those living where alligators might live—ponds and lakes, in particular—urging folks to steer far clear of those bodies of water, maintaining not just the oft-heard 10 feet, but why not play it extra safe, and smart, Kight wonders and stay 20 feet away. And: a reminder never to feed gators, bears, or other wild animals because they become acclimated to humans, and emboldened.

This rolls into hearing the story of Freddy, the gator who’s lived at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary for nearly 40 years, and how she landed  there. This, in turn, leads to Kight delivering the account of what brought the two sister black bears to residing at the Sanctuary.

Remembering that Kight was helping out at a veterinarian’s as a six-year-old, and clearly pursuing a lifelong passion to work with animals—and in her 18th year at the Sanctuary–I ask to what extent this represents her dream job….

We touch on other topics, including the Sanctuary’s imminent and enormously complicated relocation, moving from its current 11-acre site (their lease is up) to a nearly 20-acre spread, which they will own.

She describes some of the logistical challenges of the relocation, including preparing to move the 200 animals—among them, Freddy, the bear sisters, bobcats, snakes, and raptors. It’s also a costly enterprise, to the tune of $18 million. They are very open to receiving donations toward that staggering sum.

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