When he saw his puppy in the jaws of a small alligator in a nearby pond, this Florida man sprung into action, pulling the gator to shore and saving his dog's life, all of it caught on video.
The man just wanted to let his tiny dog get freedom. The dog is seen yelping as Richard struggles to free it from the gator's grip.
The video was captured in October.
The footage was shot as part of a project between the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fStop Foundation, called Sharing the Landscape. Although, Wilbanks said, he is a bit shy now, and understandably so, around water.
Richard Wilbanks, 74, of Estero ran into his backyard pond, wrestled the gator above surface, and pried its jaws open to free Gunner, his Cavalier King Charles spaniel. "We don't just want to tolerate wildlife, but, rather, we want to thrive with wildlife on a shared landscape", she says. As residential developments encroach on wildlife habitat in Southwest Florida, Budd said education on co-existence with wildlife is important to help reduce conflict between humans and wildlife.
And Wilbanks said he and his family have gained a new appreciation for the wildlife around them. "Each species plays an important role and contributes to keeping our environment healthy".
Both Gunner and Wilbanks have recovered and are back to enjoying their regular walks-only now, the two walk on-leash and 10 feet away from the waters' edge.