Orlando, Fla. — Grab a tissue and watch the video below as Gatorland sadly says goodbye to Blackwater, one of their star alligators, who passed away Saturday night.
The video shares how they first adopted Blackwater from Ookefenokee Swamp in Georgia, where the alligator was living in a tiny pool in Blackwater Pond.
Blackwater was sick with pneumonia when he first arrived at the park, but he was nursed back to health and grew to be more than 13 feet long.
Gatorland’s Savannah Boan befriended the reptile and shared her love for the animal through shows and on the parks blog.
People, including trainers at Gatorland, were surprised at the relationship between the two.
During mating season male alligators like to fight and Savannah noticed Blackwater had been injured.
Park officials secluded the big fellow from the other gators to try to rehabilitate the beast.
He seemed to be doing well, but took a turn for the worse and passed away Saturday during a rainstorm.
“We lost a really, really cool alligator,” said CEO Mark McHugh in the vlog.
Savannah held the gator’s head in her lap and cried.
She wrote on her blog, “He was my very best friend and I'm so sad to let you know that he passed away. 😢 Rest In Peace sweet Blackwater.”
“Savannah’s goin’ to take a little time off “ said McHugh “she deserves it.”