(ALLIGATORS/ANIMAL NEWS) Animal activists are criticizing Walt Disney World Orlando after a two-year-old boy was snatched from the beach by an alligator and dragged to his death at the Seven Seas Lagoon.

While Disney has ‘no swimming’ signs posted in the area, there are no signs warning the public that there are alligators present. Disney plans to thoroughly review the situation for the future, however it’s troubling that people have such easy access to these beach areas without first being made aware of the risks.

What’s more, five alligators were captured and euthanized in their search for the toddler’s body. While attacks like this are rare, it does not justify the killing of animals who were only acting naturally.

We can only hope this isolated incident will not negatively impact other alligators in the area and that Disney will take measures to peacefully coexist alongside the region’s wildlife.

Continue reading for more details on the incident as well as PETA President Ingrid Newkirk‘s response. — Global Animal

A boat belonging to the Orange County Sheriff's office searches the Seven Seas lagoon ouside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa near Orlando, Florida on June 15, 2016. An American family's Disney vacation turned into a nightmare when an alligator snatched their two-year-old boy at the shore of a resort lake and the father was unable to pry the toddler from the animal's jaws, officials said Wednesday. Florida authorities believe there is "no question" the two-year-old boy dragged into a man-made lake by an alligator at a Disney resort hotel in Florida is dead, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said Wednesday.Rescuers were still working to recover the body, Demings told reporters. / AFP / Gregg NEWTON. Photo Credit: Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images
Authorities search the Seven Seas lagoon outside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa near Orlando, Florida on June 15, 2016. Photo Credit: Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images

Mirror, Barbara Liston

The head of animal charity PETA has hit out at Disney after at least four alligators were killed by police searching for a young boy dragged to his death at the company’s Florida resort.

Officers hunting for the two-year-old took reptiles from the water and euthanised them to see if there were any human remains inside.

The tot, named tonight as Lane Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska, was pulled away as he paddled on the shore of the five-star Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Orlando, Florida.

Now the British-born head of PETA has criticised officials over the alligator deaths, saying the creatures were “doing only what came naturally to them”.

Speaking to Mirror.co.uk, Ingrid Newkirk said: “Disney, knowing that there were alligators in that water, should have installed warning signs because it’s not news that alligators are natural predators.”

“Yet now a child and four alligators, who were doing only what came naturally to them, have paid with their lives,” she continued.

“The price of paving paradise and putting up a parking lot is that amusement parks, hotels, shopping malls, golf courses, and highways have shrunk the habitat that wildlife needs to survive.”

Photo credit: Steve Lewis
Alligators have inhabited Florida’s marshes, swamps, rivers, and lakes for centuries. Photo Credit: Steve Lewis

The boy’s parents watched in terror as the reptile clenched its jaws around him, before pulling him into the Seven Seas Lagoon near the premier hotel.

Police have now stated “there is no question” the child is dead, adding: “We’re gonna to continue to search until we find the body.”

Speaking during a live press conference, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said: “We are dealing with this family who there’s no question will lose a two-year-old child.”

“It has been now about 15 hours since the child was taken into the water by an alligator,” he continued.

“So we know that we are working now on recovering the body of the child at this point.”

“Our ultimate goal is to bring some closure to the family by recovering their loved one,” he continued.

“Disney has operated here for 45 years and they have never had this type of thing happen before.”

Sheriff Deming also told reporters it was a “complicated event” but that 50 officers were searching the man-made lake and a marine unit was using sonar.

Desperate wildlife officials move an alligator into a boat on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Photo Credit: James Breeden via Daily Mirror
Desperate wildlife officials move an alligator into a boat on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Photo Credit: James Breeden via Daily Mirror

He added: “Disney is doing all it can to make the family comfortable.”

Disney World announced this afternoon that all beaches, ferry boats and marinas are closed until further notice.

Video shot by Twitter user ‘ Christian the Magician ‘ – who was first to break the news of the tragedy last night – shows the area deserted.

Boats can be seen scouring the water for the animal and a helicopter heard hovering overhead.

Four alligators have so far been killed by rescuers searching for a toddler.

Their bodies were examined but there was no evidence that any of them had attacked the boy snatched last night.

Vice President of Walt Disney World Resort Jacquee Wahler said in an earlier statement: “Everyone here at the Walt Disney World Resort is devastated by this tragic accident. Our thoughts are with the family.

“We are helping the family and doing everything we can to assist law enforcement.”

More Mirror: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/peta-boss-slams-disney-after-8202553

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