Photographer 'had no business' approaching alligator, says Gatorland experts

It may seem harmless taking some nature photos, but experts at Gatorland say a state park visitor took it too far and made it too dangerous.
The incident was captured on video.

A man takes pictures of a gator in Alachua County and gets too close for comfort.

A reptile lunges and chomps down on a man’s tripod.

Photographer Ben Boukari started rolling on his own camera when he saw it happen.

“He had a backpack full of cameras and lenses, and you’ll see in the video it shakes," he said. "The gator had actually snapped and bitten his backpack full of his camera and stuff.”

Boukari says the man was in an area of Paynes Prairie State Park, where people aren’t supposed to be.

“In the video when he’s walking backwards you see him stumble. You see him pulling thorns out of his hands; his legs have blood on them. He had been scraped up pretty badly by stumbling back the first time,” Boukari said.
It didn’t end there.

Boukari said, “He actually comes back again. The gator goes into the water and he tries to get back out. He’s trying to get more footage, trying to get the gator lunging at him."

We showed the video to Gatorland CEO Mark McHugh.

"I was shocked when I saw it,” McHugh said.

He says people need to stay away from gators, especially during mating and hatching season.

“The mothers are extremely aggressive this time of year," he said. "You saw how aggressively she came out of the water and grabbed that camera. She could have just as easily grabbed him.”
Boukari also believes it was a mother gator trying to protect her babies.

“He had no business down there," Boukari said. "I’ve never seen anyone down there.”

Boukari says he doesn’t know who the man was, but hopes he never does this again.

By the way, Boukari was up on a boardwalk with others when he took the video.