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Following Toddler's Death, New Disney Signs Warn of Alligators

Days after a 2-year-old boy was snatched and drowned by an alligator at a lagoon in Disney World, the company is setting up warning signs alerting people to the potential danger posed by the reptiles.

"We are installing signage and temporary barriers at our resort beach locations and are working on permanent, long-term solutions at our beaches," Jacquee Wahler, vice president of Walt Disney World resort, said in a statement.

The signs read "Beware! There are alligators and snakes in the area" with black silhouettes of each animal.

The signs and barriers come too late for little Lane Graves, whose family was visiting from Nebraska. He was wading in about a foot of murky water in a lake near Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Tuesday evening when an alligator pulled him into the water. His father jumped into the water to try to save him, but without success.

The toddler's body was found the next day.

In the statement, Wahler said Disney is evaluating processes and procedures, reinforcing staff training, and "expanding our communication to Guests on this topic."

Before the boy's death, the company did display "no-swimming" signs near the water, reports NBC News, but there were no warnings about alligators.

The incident has raised questions about whether Disney did enough to warn visitors beforehand about the alligators, especially tourists from other states who don't have the awareness of the predators that Floridians do.

As the AP reports, Kadie Whalen, of Wynnewood, Pa., says four years ago her children were playing on the beach of another Disney Resort when an alligator appeared.

Whalen says she screamed for help and trappers eventually caught the alligator and carried it away. But she says Disney workers threatened to confiscate any photos or video taken of the incident.

Florida wildlife officials say they have removed from the water and killed five alligators, but they're still trying to figure out whether any of them were responsible for the attack on Lane Graves.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
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