Florida wildlife director loses arm in 2nd gator attack within span of a decade

Greg Graziani, who runs Florida Gator Gardens, understands the risks of the job, wildlife officials say

Greg Graziani, runs Florida Gator Gardens in Highlands County and lost his arm to one of the park's large alligators, according to a Facebook post. (Florida Gator Gardens)

HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida wildlife director had his arm amputated earlier this month after a routine interaction with one of his park’s large alligators in Highlands County, a Facebook post read.

Greg Graziani, who runs Florida Gator Gardens in Venus, Florida, and has been working with reptiles since the age of 7, received a partial amputation on his left arm on Aug. 17, before eventually losing the whole body part, the wildlife park and breeding facility wrote in the post.

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“The accident was an extreme injury that left Greg’s hand connected by one tendon. A tendon and some muscle that the surgeon had to untwist 6 times during the initial surgery,” according to the post.

Despite Graziani’s good health otherwise, which gave doctors hope they might be able to save the arm, “it was clear that the hand was simply not able to recover (as) crushing injuries and avulsions are the hardest injuries to reattach and we had all of it,” park officials said.

Florida Gator Gardens emphasized working with animals always poses a risk, adding the alligator involved in the incident was uninjured and continues to stay at the wildlife park.

“Every time we work with any of our animals, we never fail to acknowledge the gravity of the situation,” according to park officials. “We are working with an animal where collaboration and training between species is something that is taught, and it usually goes against quite a few natural instincts. This is true for all of them- from the nuisance alligators down even to our terrier. Every animal is given a level of respect and acknowledgement for their power, behavior, natural instincts, and training.”

This incident comes after Graziani almost lost his right arm about 10 years ago in 2013. Following that close call, wildlife park officials said Graziani “came back more determined to share his passion for reptiles with the world,” something that has continued even through his most recent attack.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.