Man heroically saves puppy that was dragged into pond by alligator

For this project- I’m the Spring of 2020, volunteers were selected who live in residences that border wild habitat in Lee County and cameras were placed in their backyards to document wildlife that live and share the landscape with the residents. So our organization (Florida Wildlife Federation)- in conjunction with fStop Foundation (cc’d here) have been monitoring these cameras- retrieving memory cards to upload photos every several weeks. So this incident took place at the end of October- and we only discovered the footage when memory cards were collected in the last week. The homeowners took their dog to the vet and the man was also checked out and all parties involved are healthy and ok!

We live in beautiful SW Florida and the wildlife is part of what makes this region so unique. And this project end goal is to develop an educational video/tool that can help to educate people about living with wildlife and hopefully reduce the likelihood of conflicts- like this on. It is critical that people who live at the interface of wild land take extra precautions—dogs should leashed and both people and pets should avoid lingering at the edge of large retention ponds where alligators are known to occupy. I’ve spoken with the homeowners and after this encounter, they are still just as passionate about wildlife and still have a great appreciation for the beauty of their surroundings. I also think they have a deeper respect for the wildlife that share the area around their backyard and—hopefully-- their pup will be leashed while exploring back there from now on.

In general - most wildlife conflicts can be avoided or resolved by making simple changes- in this case keeping dogs leashes and not lingering near the edge of the lake. But in other instances- an example would be removing attractants from your yard. Thank you for sharing this story about Mr. Wilbanks’ courageous act and the Wilbanks’ learned lesson from the experience of the need to take precautions to avoid future conflict. If anyone wants to learn more about our work, please visit

Credit: fStop Foundation
Florida Wildlife Federation