A boat belonging to the Orange County Sheriff's office searches the Seven Seas lagoon between Disney...

Disney Has Removed 250 Gators On Its Properties Since The Death Of 2-Year-Old Boy

A new program was started after the tragic death of a 2-year-old boy in 2016.

The death of 2-year-old Lane Graves at a Disney World resort in 2016 was an unspeakable tragedy. One that the Florida theme park is trying to prevent from ever happening again. In an effort to keep guests safe, Disney has removed over 200 gators from the premises as part of a program to ensure families visiting the theme park are as safe as possible.

The Graves family of Omaha, Nebraska was visiting Disney World in June 2016 when their 2-year-old son Lane was playing by the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon, a man-made lake at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake. The little boy was standing in ankle-deep water when he was snatched up by an alligator and dragged into the water, and despite his father Matt’s attempts to save him, his dead body was found one day later. Lane’s death triggered a new era at Disney World, where warning signs were posted about the danger of wildlife like snakes and alligators around the property. A reminder that Disney World was built on swamp land where such animals have always lived and hunted.

Beyond the warning signs, Disney has also hired independent trappers from across the state to come on to the property to catch and remove alligators at $30 per animal. In the past five years, 250 alligators have been removed from the area, as Insider reported.

Disney World is working to keep guests safe.Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Disney gives these trappers the right to make a profit from these alligators, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission noting most of the captured animals are euthanized, per The Associated Press. Their hides used for leather and meat, according to a commission spokesperson. Some are brought to zoos and farms, while any alligators under four feet in length are relocated.

As for the family of Lane Graves, they went on to establish the Lane Thomas Graves Foundation, which aims to encourage families to consider child organ donation and help families going through unspeakable tragedies. Something they understand all too well.

At Disney World, Lane is remembered with a lighthouse statue erected in his honor in 2017, near the Seven Seas Lagoon where he died. "We find comfort that so many people continue to remember our sweet boy, Lane, and we believe the lighthouse stands as a beacon of hope and support for families in the depths of despair,'' his family said in a statement to TODAY.