BEAUMONT, Texas – With more than 350 American alligators living outside of the largest park and sanctuary in Southeast Texas, “Gator Country” is at risk of losing all of its gators to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Harvey.
“We're less than a foot from (water) going over the fences," Gary Saurage, owner of Gator Country, told a CNN affiliate station in Beaumont, Texas.
“All of these are certified, high fences, but when it won't quit, it won't quit. We've worked around the clock and I don't know what else to do. We're truly tired. Everybody's at the end of it, man. We don't know what to do,” Saurage said.
350 gators at Gator Country in Jefferson County could swim right over the fence & escape with flood waters continuing to rise. RE-109MO pic.twitter.com/z7SZSS5IGd— CNN Newsource (@CNNNewsource) August 28, 2017
The park, located 90 miles east of Houston in Beaumont, Texas, has received more than 17 inches of rain in the past couple of days.
However, if Tropical Storm Harvey continues to dump heavy rain in southeast Texas, Saurage’s life work of rescuing gators for more than 10 years could be washed away in a matter of days.
“I've never seen (the water) stay anywhere near this before. The staying power of this storm is just unbelievable,” Saurage told the CNN affiliate station.
According to the park’s website, Gator Country is known for rescuing alligators from “people’s backyards, ponds, swimming pools” and gators that are stranded after severe weather.
Despite the park’s crocodiles, venomous snakes and other dangerous creatures being put away at high enough ground not to be a risk of escaping, Saurage told the CNN affiliate the alligators in the fenced areas could come over the fences if the water gets high enough.
According to the CNN affiliate, the park’s buildings and the newly added gift shop have received more than a foot of water inside.
More than 50 water rescues have been conducted in the Jefferson County area since midnight, according to the CNN affiliate.