RAW: 350 gators could escape from park as water rises above protective fence

Posted at 8:25 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 20:25:20-04

BEAUMONT-PORT ARTHUR, TX (KFDM/CNN) - Floodwaters in Texas could lead to the escape of hundreds of alligators from the Gator Country Adventure Park in Beaumont, park owner Gary Saurage said.

The two biggest gators, Big Tex and Big Al, are in trailers, but there are upwards of 350 alligators in the exterior of the facility. Saurage said floodwaters are less than a foot away from topping the certified-high fences designed to keep the reptiles in.

Crocodiles, venomous snakes and other dangerous creatures were captured and put away at high enough ground to not be at risk of escaping, he said. 

"Everything that is not from here, we've put up and we have in a safe place, but we live with alligators," Saurage said.

He said he's frustrated that much of what he's worked for - rescuing alligators and other creatures to add to his farm - is gone with three days of flooding.

The gift shop, which was recently added, has at least a foot and a half in the building, and there's more rain in the forecast in the area.

There had been at least 10 water rescues in Jefferson County overnight as of 7 a.m. with many more underway. There have been more than 50 water rescues in the county since midnight.

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