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250 Gators Have Been Removed from Disney Property in Fla. Since Toddler's 2016 Death: Report

·3 min read

Orange County Sheriff's Office Lane Graves

Disney has worked to remove hundreds of alligators from its properties following the 2016 death of a 2-year-old boy who was attacked by one of the animals at Disney World, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

In all, Disney, with help from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contractors, removed about 250 alligators from company-owned areas, the outlet reported.

A spokesperson for the FWC told the Sentinel that many of the alligators were transported to farms, animal exhibits and zoos. Others have had their meat and skin sold after being euthanized, and trappers are paid $30 for each of the reptiles they catch.

Disney and FWC did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The company's relocation efforts come after 2-year-old Lane Graves was killed by one of the animals in the water at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort in June 2016.

RELATED: Family of Lane Graves Promises to Keep His 'Memory Alive' 2 Years After He Was Killed by Alligator

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Lane was on vacation with his family from Nebraska when the alligator pulled him into the Seven Seas Lagoon. His father, Matt Graves, said he was attacked by a second alligator as he unsuccessfully tried to save his son.

A search for the boy eventually led to the discovery of his body about 16 hours later.

"As a parent and a grandparent, my heart goes out to the Graves family during this time of devastating loss," Disney's then-CEO, Bob Iger, said in a statement at the time, according to CNN. "My thoughts and prayers are with them, and I know everyone at Disney joins me in offering our deepest sympathies."

RELATED: Man Attacked by Alligator at Disney World in 1986 Recalls Trauma After 2-Year-Old's Death: 'I Was Lucky'

Alligators are native to Florida and have lived in the state's marshes, swamps, rivers and lakes for centuries, according to FWC. The creature is a large part of Floridian life. According to the Key West Aquarium, Gainesville - home of the Florida Gators college football team - has the largest population of alligators in the United States. Gatorland, a theme park dedicated to alligators, is also located just a short drive from Disney World.

Following his death, Matt and his wife, Melissa, started The Lane Thomas Foundation, which helps cover travel and other non-medical expenses for families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants being treated at Omaha's Children's Hospital or Nebraska Medicine.

RELATED VIDEO: 12-Foot Alligator Has Close Call with Child

Experts told the Sentinel that removing the gators from Disney's resorts should have little effect on the population in the state.

"I don't see a harm in removing and euthanizing some of the alligators that are in positions to do what they normally do and that is to find food," Deby Cassill, the integrative biology associate campus chair at the University of South Florida, told the outlet. "We want to keep them away from children and pets as much as possible."

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