LAKELAND, Fla. - Florida Fish and Wildlife officers say they found parts of at least three alligators and other protected animals inside a Polk County home this week.
The commission believes the man who lives there, Michael Montford, killed the animals for himself -- likely for food.
“The team found that he had alligator parts, alligator meat, alligator skulls, and toes from alligators,” said Gary Morse, Spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Commission in Lakeland.
Parts of gopher tortoises and vultures were also found at Montford’s home, according to Morse.
“We do see cases like this from time to time, but this is a relatively big case for us in Polk County,” he said.
In recent years, FWC officers have gotten more clever in their fight against poaching by scouring the internet and searching for videos posted on sites like YouTube and Facebook.
They have found poachers like to brag.
In this case, Morse says an anonymous tip lead officers to Montford’s collection of animal parts.
As of Thursday evening, he’s still in jail facing a felony and several misdemeanors.
“It’s illegal to have parts of protected species in your possession,” he said. “That prevents people from poaching these animals.”
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