A student from Beaumont, Texas, Makenzie Noland, recently celebrated her college graduation by posting a picture with a 14-foot-long alligator by the name of Big Tex, who lives in a wildlife sanctuary also in Beaumont, Texas. A student of Texas A&M University, Noland had been staying in Gator county for the past 3 months as she was doing an internship with the sanctuary. The pictures were shared by her on her Facebook account and garnered over 5,000 shares at the time of this publication.
During the months she spent at the sanctuary, she took care of nearly 370 alligators but developed a bond with Big Tex.
She trained with the 14-foot-long alligator but under the careful supervision of trained professionals and her supervisors. While speaking to an international media outlet, Makenzie added that it was Tex that allowed her to be in the pond beside him as he always picked his favourites. She also added that it was a privilege for her to have the option of being in the pond and play with him.
Noland said the giant reptile was like a "little" puppy as he always listened to her in order to get his treats. The soon to be graduate said that she used a hand gesture to ask Tex to come to her and then she tickled his nose and gave him food.
It was the bond that Noland shared with Tex, which inspired her to get her college graduation pictures clicked along with him.
The college graduate stated that the alligators in the wildlife sanctuary were there because of people feeding them and added that they were taken in because they were considered a nuisance by society.
A few people criticized the student for risking her life and called such an act very dangerous. Noland told everyone that she had followed all the set rules and would never do anything that would put her life in danger.
Makenzie added that she would never do anything risky as she performed all of her tasks under proper supervision and also that she was a trained employee of the sanctuary. She also added that every animal had a different reaction to every situation and if the animals are in any way acting hostile, they immediately get out of the water and ensure their safety and everyone around them.