Gatorland Welcomes Two Deserving Rescues to the Gatorland Family

During these stressful times, it is always great to hear of stories that bring joy and the overwhelming knowledge deep inside that out of adversity there is hope. We often see stories of animal rescues from dogs, cats even horses but this story, although unique, lends that overall sentiment that we are here to protect animals from harm and for them to live their best life. That is why I truly love this rescue story.

Gatorland®, the “Alligator Capital of the WorldTM”, is excited to welcome David, the “Lake Michigan Alligator,” to his new forever home. David is the famous alligator who was discovered in October 2018 floating with his mouth taped shut in the frigid waters of Waukegan Harbor 35 miles north of Downtown Chicago. Fisherman David Castaneda reeled in the alligator (which was later named after him) and it was taken to the Wildlife Discovery Center at Elawa Farm in nearby Lake Forest. The City of Waukegan’s Facebook post on David was viewed by more than 1.1 million visitors worldwide. “We are thrilled to welcome David to our Gatorland family, and provide him a wonderful “retirement” home here in beautiful Florida,” said Mark McHugh, President and CEO of Gatorland. “Through our Gatorland Global conservation program, we have helped dozens of alligators just like him through our mission to Protect, Conserve, and Educate.”

According to Rob Carmichael, Curator of the Wildlife Discovery Center, when David was rescued, he was very weak, weighed just 16.3 pounds and was only 52 inches long. He regurgitated pieces of plastic and rubber that he had ingested, he was fighting infections, and his liver was completely shut down. Miraculously, the Center was able to gradually nurse David back to health, but Carmichael decided it was now time for David to come live in alligator paradise at Gatorland. “Gatorland’s commitment to excellent care and lots of hands-on interaction closely aligns with our philosophies. I can’t think of a better place for David to live out his life,” he said.

Joining David at Gatorland is another Wildlife Discovery Center alligator named Casanova, a 30-year-old American Alligator who was rescued from a drug “crack” house where he spent 20 years crammed in a 40-gallon-tank with no light or heat, and fed one goldfish a month. “Casanova also deserves a place like Gatorland to live out his life. These two gators hit the jackpot,” added Carmichael. David and Casanova are among more than 40 alligators and crocodiles that Gatorland has rescued or given new homes to as part of the Gatorland Global Conservation Program.

For more information visit online at You can also follow them on Facebook at www.facebook/gatorland or on Instagram at gatorland_orlando. Gatorland Press Release 3/4/2021