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WLRN’s new Broward reporter, Wildlife Thursday with a ‘Croc Doc’ and alligator wrestling

Bill Longshaw

We get to know WLRN’s new Broward County reporter. Plus, it’s Wildlife Thursday — we’re talking alligators and crocodiles with a local ‘Croc Doc.’ And we hear from a Seminole Tribe alligator wrestler.

On this Thursday, April 21, edition of Sundial:

WLRN’s Broward reporter 

The trial of the confessed Parkland school shooter, changes in policing, even local redistricting — there’s a lot happening in Broward.

Gerard Albert III is WLRN’s new reporter for the county.

WLRN is here for you, even when life is unpredictable. Our journalists are continuing to work hard to keep you informed across South Florida. Please support this vital work. Become a WLRN member today. Thank you.

He grew up in South Florida, graduated from Florida International University and interned with WLRN in 2019. During that time he worked on stories about local hot sauce and watersports accessibility.

He went on to cover crime and public safety in Myrtle Beach South Carolina and the Palm Beach Post.

You can find more of his latest reporting on Broward County here.

WLRN’s new Broward reporter

Wildlife Thursday with a ‘Croc Doc’ 

In Florida, it’s not uncommon to hear stories about alligators strolling around neighborhoods … or even someone’s kitchen.

What can we say? They were here long before us.

They share common ancestors with the American crocodile, which made a comeback recently after being on the endangered species list for decades.

Sidney Godfrey, a wildlife biologist with "The Croc Docs" — a team of biologists and specialists out of the University of Florida, joined Sundial to discuss these prehistoric-looking creatures for Wildlife Thursday.

“A lot of people think we gave ourselves that name [Croc Docs], but actually we did not. It’s a pretty interesting backstory. My boss, Dr. Frank Mazzotti, has been doing crocodile research since the 1970s, and he went out with the Sports Illustrated reporter and they found a young crocodile which had been drowned by a crab. And he was able to resuscitate the crocodile. And so because of the work that my boss has been doing to see how the health of crocs in general is and how the populations are doing, plus that the reporter gave them the nickname the ‘Croc Doc’–– it's just kind of stuck ever since,” said Godfrey.

Read that full story from the Sports Illustrated archives here.

Wildlife Thursday with a ‘Croc Doc’
Portrait of a Nile crocodile.

Alligator wrestling

Alligator performances, like gator wrestling, have been around for decades in Florida.

The Seminole Tribe has a long history of the practice and much of it is focused on developing a relationship with the animal.

Billy Barefoot Walker, a Seminole alligator wrestler, joined Sundial to talk about the practice. Find more about this story here.

Alligator wrestling

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.