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La. tour operators ordered to stop feeding gators

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 12, 2014 at 5:41 pm •  Published: June 12, 2014

LAFITTE, La. (AP) — Authorities have ordered swamp boat tour operators in the South Louisiana community of Jefferson Parish to stop feeding alligators after video of a tour guide doing so went viral, the sheriff's office said Thursday.

There is no Louisiana law prohibiting luring and feeding of alligators, but it's against local law in Jefferson Parish, where a tourist captured video of an Airboat Adventures tour guide swimming with and feeding two alligators. At one point the video captures the guide putting a marshmallow in his mouth and letting an alligator snatch it away.

"We have now initiated our own investigation into the incident," said Col. John Fortunato, a spokesman for the parish sheriff's office.

He said officers have met with representatives of the swamp tour boat companies in Jefferson Parish and have instructed them to cease any feeding of alligators. Each business was provided a copy of the Jefferson Parish ordinance on this subject, he said.

No charges had been filed as of Thursday.

"Just recently, this information was brought to our attention. Prior to that, we had no formal complaint, nor, were we ever notified of any illegal activity involving the swamp tour boat companies," Fortunato said.

He said his office is working closely with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in investigating.

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