Deception, Danger, and Alligators in the Everglades
by Rebecca Renner
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Pub Date 14 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 12 Feb 2024
A New York Times Editors' Choice
"Delivers everything its title promises and much more." - NPR
"Remarkable... Every species, and every person who fights for its continued existence, deserves a book like this." — The New York Times
"This nail-biter account has the intensity of the best true crime... A high-def tale that ensnares you from the start." —People
David Grann meets Susan Orlean in this page-turning true story of an underground operation into the mysterious world of alligator poaching and its larger than life Floridian characters
To catch a Florida Man, you have to become one, and that’s what Officer Jeff Babauta did. As his ponytailed, whiskey-soaked alter ego, he established Sunshine Alligator Farm. His goal? Infiltrate the shady world of illegal poachers in the Florida Everglades in order to protect the natural world.
A head-spinning adventure soon unfolds. Jeff deals with glow-in-the-dark alligators and high-speed airboat rides, but quickly learns that not all poachers are villains. They’re simply people trying to survive, fighting against the poverty and greed holding them down. Jeff wants to solve the mystery of alligator poachers, and in doing so he must venture deeper into a strange ecosystem where right is wrong, and justice comes at the cost of those who’ve welcomed him into their world.
Gator Country is the twisting true story of the impossible choices individuals must make to stay afloat in this world. Through its wholly unique blend of reporting, nature writing, and personal narrative, this book transports readers to vibrant and dangerous Florida landscapes and offers intimate portraits of those who call the region home. Broad in scope and vivid in detail, Gator Country is a fast paced tale of the risks people will take to survive in one of the world's most beautiful yet formidable landscapes and the undercover investigation that threatens to topple the whole scheme.