Those who live in alligator country are constantly reminded of the giant reptiles. Signs around waterways, PSAs from local agencies and horrific stories in the news all serve to remind them of the ever-present danger.
One recent incident did not turn into a horrific story, thanks to the heroic intervention of one local man, Daniel Duplantier.
On March 19, Duplantier was watching alligators at a canal in Westwego, Louisiana, when he heard shouts for help.
A 5-year-old boy had somehow fallen into the canal and was in the alligator-infested waters, no match for the giant beasts.
Duplantier wasted no time and went into the water, risking his own life to rescue the boy and getting him back onto the bank, where first responders could attend to him.
After the selfless rescue, Westwego Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 shared the story.
“Today the Westwego Vol. Fire Department responded to a rescue at the Westwego Canal,” the fire company shared on March 19. “A 5 year old boy fell into canal near the pumping station and was rescued from the water by Daniel Duplantier who was near the canal watching alligators when he heard the boy yelling for help.
“Westwego Fire – Police & EMS helped to get the boy back across the canal to safety where he was treated by EMS.
“Spring is upon us and Summer is near, keep a close eye on children around waterways and swimming pools.”
People commented on the post to thank the hero for his bravery and quick rescue.
“Thank you, sir, for your heroism!” one person wrote. “Blessings to you all. You protected a family from a lifetime of grief.”
“Give that man a Blue Ribbon,” another wrote.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries states that during this time of the year, alligators are on the move and locals must be vigilant to spot and avoid them.
“If the alligator is not approaching people or otherwise posing an obvious threat, wait a few days, even a week, if possible, before contacting LDWF,” the web page on alligators states.
“In spring and summer, alligators move to breed or find new habitat. Most of these alligators are smaller ones that have been pushed out of their normal habitat by larger alligators. Usually, these smaller alligators will move on in a week or two.”
The page also states that the presence of an alligator is not considered a nuisance worth removing unless it is greater than 4 feet in length, lunges at people or loiters near homes or livestock.
People in alligator-prone areas are urged to exercise caution when they are near any bodies of water that might possibly be home to alligators, to avoid approaching visible alligators and to avoid feeding alligators.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.