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South Florida wildlife refuge to visitors: Stop feeding the alligators

Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge closes boat ramp

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BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – An uptick of alligators lurking near a boat ramp at a South Florida wildlife refuge is being blamed on visitors feeding them.

As a result, the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is closing the Lee Road boat ramp for fishing until Nov. 2.

According to a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a number of "nuisance gators" observed near the boat ramp have been removed and euthanized within the last month.

Park ranger Veronica Kelly said "one of the main contributing factors" to the increased presence of gators in the area is from people feeding them while fishing off the boat ramp.

The Lee Road boat ramp area will remain open for boat launching, canoeing, photography and wildlife observation, but fishing will be prohibited within 100 yards of the boat ramp.

Feeding alligators is against the law. Violators could spend up to a year in jail and pay a $100,000 fine.