Barriers, signs go up where 2-year-old was killed by gator

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image wls"><span>WLS</span></div><span class="caption-text">Workers are installing temporary barriers and more signs where an alligator killed a 2-year-old boy at the Walt Disney World Resort. (Blanca Rios)</span></div>
Workers are installing temporary barriers and more signs where an alligator killed a 2-year-old boy at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Crews at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Florida were working on the project Friday afternoon.

A spokesperson said the resort is working on long-term solutions at its beaches, saying, in part: "We continue to evaluate processes and procedures for our entire property, and, as part of this, we are reinforcing training with our cast for reporting sightings and interactions with wildlife."

NEBRASKA FAMILY 'DEVASTATED' BY FATAL GATOR ATTACK AT DISNEY

The parents of a Nebraska toddler killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World say they're devastated by the loss of their son, whose death prompted the entertainment giant to add gator warnings at the resort.

A statement by Matt and Melissa Graves of Omaha, Nebraska, said words can't express the shock and grief their family is enduring.

"We are devastated and ask for privacy during this extremely difficult time," said the statement, released by a family friend Thursday.

PHOTOS: Boy dragged away by alligator at Disney resort

The brief statement also thanked authorities in Orlando, Florida, for their assistance after the gator grabbed 2-year-old Lane Graves from shallow water in a lake at a Disney hotel Tuesday.

An animal described as being as long as 7 feet snatched the little boy as he waded in shallow water around nightfall Tuesday. The beach, located at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa across a lake from the Magic Kingdom, had "no swimming" signs but no warning about alligators.

On Friday, Disney said it began installing new signs and temporary barriers at resort beach locations. The company is working on permanent, long-term solutions, Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said.

"We continue to evaluate processes and procedures for our entire property, and, as part of this, we are reinforcing training with our Cast for reporting sightings and interactions with wildlife and are expanding our communication to Guests on this topic,"
Wahler said.

While it's an unwritten rule for Florida residents to keep small children away from ponds and lakes in a state with an alligator population estimated at more than 1 million, many out-of-state visitors aren't aware of threat posed by the reptiles.

Kadie Whalen of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, said her three young children and niece were playing on a resort beach at the water's edge four years ago when the beady eyes of a 7-foot gator appeared in a lake just a few feet away. She screamed and everyone scattered.

No one was hurt, but after her experience, this week's fatal alligator attack didn't surprise her.

"We knew that Disney was aware that this was a problem, and yet they encourage people to be there," Whalen said Thursday in a telephone interview.

State wildlife officials say they receive nearly 16,000 alligator-related complaints a year. Last year, they removed more than 7,500 gators deemed to be a nuisance.

Depending on the size of an alligator, the state may send out a trapper, as happened after the gator grabbed the boy at Disney's Seven Seas Lagoon. Officials said five alligators were removed from the lake during the search for the child, whose body was found in the water Wednesday.

WLS-TV and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Disney is the parent company of WLS-TV.
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newsu.s. & worldDisney Worldalligatornational

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