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The Nation

Alligator Bites Off Man's Arm at Garden in Florida

September 25, 2002|From Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — An alligator bit off a man's right forearm, which was retrieved from the animal's stomach but was too damaged to reattach, wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Don Goodman, director of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, was weeding a waterlily garden Monday when the 11-foot alligator bit his arm off from just below his elbow, said Justin Lagotic, spokesman for Alachua County Fire Rescue.

Wildlife officials harpooned the male alligator, said John Duncan, an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Authorities shot the alligator and slit its stomach open, finding Goodman's arm inside. The arm was taken to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida, but doctors could not reattach it, a botanical garden spokeswoman said.

Goodman was in fair condition Tuesday, hospital officials said.

The gator probably attacked because it mistook Goodman's hand for another animal, said Gabe Duclos, a gardener at Kanapaha.

Goodman has been director of the gardens since 1978. It was the first alligator attack at the park, owned by Alachua County and maintained by the North Florida Botanical Society.

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