Giant Alligator Draws Crowds of Visitors to Florida Nature Reserve, Raises Concerns About Safety

Officials are reminding visitors not to approach nor feed wildlife.

January 18, 2017, 1:08 PM

— -- Crowds of visitors have been flocking to Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland, Florida, in the hopes of spotting "Humpback," a massive alligator that made international headlines earlier this week after a video of him went viral.

The video, which was taken on Sunday afternoon, shows the gigantic reptile appearing out of some brush and then slowly walking across a patch of grass on the reserve's Marsh Rabbit Run. Bystanders can be seen in the background peering at the wild animal through camera lenses.

Though officials for the county's natural resources division said they appreciate the newfound attention on the nature reserve, they are also concerned about the safety of visitors and wildlife.

"We’re really nervous about people being foolish and doing things they shouldn’t do," said Jeff Spence, director of Polk County Natural Resources, at a news conference on Wednesday. "We don’t want people just going wherever they can go to try to get a picture of this."

Spence said that park officials already had to ask one individual to leave after he "jumped off a viewing platform and ran back to a piece of land that was not a trail just so he could try to get a photograph of this gator."

"Humpback," who is estimated to be at least 12 feet long, has "lived his life out here, and we want him to live the remainder of his life out here," Spence said. "We don't want to have to destroy him because somebody was doing something they should not have been doing."

Visitors are advised to stay on the trails and not approach nor feed any animals they encounter, Spence said.

ABC News' Julia Jacobo contributed to this report.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events