Club Fearless Test #55

Alligator egg collecting with professional conservationists

In this video Club Fearless Founders Scott Goodknight and Stephanie Hunter help the staff at the Everglades Alligator Farm with their annual Gator Egg collection process.

DESCRIPTION: "To accomplish this task we had to enter a specially designed alligator breeding sanctuary to collect the eggs at just the right time, right before they hatch. This enclosure is built like a "Jurassic Park" fortress with two fences and double locking gates to prevent alligators from escaping.

It encompasses several acres of natural swamp environment which can be very dangerous. Tall grasses, bushes and murky water provide alligators plenty of natural camouflage which they can utilize to launch surprise attacks. And the female gators ARE VERY "protective" of their babies!

Once we dig into their nests and carefully remove the eggs being careful not to damage them or even rotate them the eggs are moved to a special incubation area to complete their growth cycle. It is in this man made incubation chamber that they hatch and begin life in a safer-than-nature environment. This process increases their chances of survival significantly. We were told that something like 85% of gators never make it to adulthood in the wild. With this process they have a FAR greater chance of survivability.

Believe it or not Alligators were almost hunted to extinction by illegal poachers and exploited by less-than-ethical tourist traps in the last century. Additionally, the successful incubation rate in the wild was very low. Most of the eggs in the wild do not hatch, they are eaten as a food source by scavenging animals and once hatched, the baby gators are a potential threat to adult male gators, so they are eaten in a pre-defensive strategy to eliminate future mating competition. They also provide an additional food source for adults. Very brutal on mother natures' part, but those are the hard emotionless facts.

Couple these factors with the generalized FEAR that humans have of gators and it creates the perfect storm of silent socially sanctioned genocide of this amazing species. Many people do not know that alligators were walking the earth at the same exact time as the dinosaurs. Observing them up close is like stepping into HG Wells' "Time Machine" They are a wonder of nature. They are perfect survivors, perfect hunters, perfect self healers and breeders.

They are incredibly resilient to infection, disease, hunger and even lack of oxygen. Perhaps this contributed to their survival over the dinosaurs? An adult alligator can hold its breath for up to 24 hours underwater! This makes them almost invisible predators, as they are able to slowly swim up underneath unaware mammals who come to the waters edge to drink. Their powerful tails give them the ability to suddenly THRUST their body at their prey, their jaws have the power to snap bones instantly, even their eyes have an amazing "Nictitating membrane" an extra semi transparent eyelid that makes a sort of natural "contact lens" to protect their eyes from murky and debris filled water, and protruding appendages from their thrashing prey.

WARNING: This was a potentially ultra hazardous experience and terrifyingly real. But with our experienced guides; Albert Killian, Travis Slater and Luke Come, we felt as safe as we could to get the job done. The feeling we got from contributing to a legitimate conservation effort AND facing one of our greatest fears was truly monumental. I can't thank the Everglades Alligator Farm enough for allowing us to participate and film this incredible circle-of-life event. NOT try this on your own, in the wild or otherwise without professional training and close supervision.

Do not FEED, touch or even approach wild gators. They are actually very shy and human contact stresses them and decreases their ability to survive and thrive. Observe, film, appreciate, but never interfere. There is a difference between being "Fearless" and being "Reckless". Knowledge and expert mentorship is KEY for your safety and the safety of the animals."

~Scott Goodknight (Founder Club Fearless)

Fears to overcome: Thantophobia (Fear of death) Traumatophobia (fear of injury) Algophobia (fear of pain) Zoophobia (fear of animals) Xenaphobia (fear of the unknown) Aquaphobia (fear of water) Phagophobia (fear of being eaten alive)

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