Gatorland, CrocFest help raise $60K for crocodile conservation

Second-highest total raised in fundraiser history

CrocFest 2021 at Gatorland (Gatorland)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gatorland is celebrating a successful turnout in its Winter CrocFest 2021 fundraising event.

The event, which took place at the park on Dec. 11, aimed to raise money for future conservation efforts for the endangered Orinoco crocodiles.

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In two separate postings, Gatorland, and organizers at CrocFest said the event helped raise $60,000, the second-highest total for a single CrocFest event.

CrocFest began 11 years ago and has since raised more than $600,000 for crocodiles in peril.

CrocFest 2021: Gatorland's Savannah Boan alongside Dallas World Aquarium's Luis Sigler and Alvaro Velasco, head of the Orinoco Project in Venezuela (Savannah Boan)

“Gatorland is thrilled with the huge success of CrocFest in early December.  The money raised will go directly to support the groundbreaking work of Alvaro Velasquez to save the Orinoco crocodiles in Venezuela,” said Mark McHugh, President & CEO of Gatorland.

The Orinoco crocodile is listed by the International Union For Conservation of Nature as Critically Endangered, with an estimated 1,500 animals left in the wild, mostly in Venezuela. It is the largest “New World” crocodilian, brought to near-extinction in the mid-1900s by unsustainable hunting for hides. Their eggs and meat are still taken for food, and their teeth are thought by some locals to have healing powers, leaders described in a news release.

Orinoco Crocodile at Gatorland (McReynolds)

“Gatorland is raising two baby Orinoco crocodiles for release into the jungles of Venezuela as part of this project,” McHugh said. “We are incredibly excited that our International Ambassador for Gatorland Global, Savannah Boan, will join this release expedition when it happens.  This is just one of the many projects that our conservation arm supports around the world to protect endangered crocodiles and their diminishing habitats.”

Gatorland Global was established in 2018 with a mission to protect, conserve and educate while supporting crocodilian research and conservation projects. The theme park uses its vlogs on YouTube to highlight the work being done, as well as raise funds to further its mission in Central Florida and around the world.

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About the Author:

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.