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Gary Saurage sounded on the verge of exhaustion.
Like so many residents of southeastern Texas, he had spent the past few days doing whatever he could to make it through Tropical Storm Harvey’s historic downpour.
But unlike other residents, he had a slew of animals to look after, and he was concerned about the 350 alligators that live on the outside portion of Gator Country, the “alligator adventure park” he co-owns in Beaumont.
Saurage was worried that, should the water continue to rise, those alligators might swim off.
“We’re less than a foot a foot from [water] going over the fences,” Saurage told local news station KFDM on Monday. “All of these are certified, high fences, but when it won’t quit, it won’t quit.”
While Saurage and others worked to get the alligators and other animals to safety, a rumor that the 350 gators were already swimming through floodwater started to spread on Twitter.
Y’all know the gator reservation on i10 otw to Beaumont…yea they lost all the gators in the flood. Approx 350 loose ass gators
— jeremy dergent (@jimmydakilla) August 28, 2017
But Saurage has denied that any such thing happened in several Facebook posts, and one post on his wall shows one of the park’s biggest alligators — a 13-footer named Big Tex — riding out the storm in a trailer. No one from the park has responded to requests for comment, but we figure that’s for pretty obvious reasons.
Saurage also said that the many other park animals are safe from the floodwater.
“All of our animals that obviously can’t swim, we got them out of there,” Saurage said in a video posted to Facebook on Tuesday. So far, he said the “really big gators” are still on the property.
“Now folks, I’m not gonna tell you we may not lose a few little alligators like that, it’s very possible,” he said. “But I can tell you, we’re almost through this thing, and we’re holding tight. So all you folks who are spreading this rumor, I’m telling you now, we’ve got our eyes on this thing, and we’re doing all we can. For all you people that are supporting us — truly, truly, thank you so much.”