International Alligator Expert to Speak at Topeka Zoo

Almost 20 years ago Biologist Ken Alfieri almost lost his life when an alligator attacked him. The alligator wasn’t trying to kill him according to Alfieri, it just wanted to be fed. Ken got distracted, his shift in attention resulted in a flinch, the alligator interpreted it as food was coming.

That incident forever bonded Alfieri’s life to the study of crocodilian behavior. Alfieri has become one of its leading advocates. His talents in understanding alligator behavior have been recruited around the world.

“Ken Alfieri has become one of this country’s experts on alligators and now his skill and expertise is needed here in Topeka,” Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said.

Alfieri will arrive in Topeka on the evening of April 21, with a truck carrying 50 juvenile alligators. He is coming as part of the team from AIDG that is installing the traveling exhibit, Alligator Frenzy. Days before, the alligators will have been rescued from farms and refuges in the Southern United States. His job is direct. Introduce and make compatible at least 40 of the 50 gators in just three days.

While in Topeka Alfieri is making himself available for a special edition of the zoo’s Conservation Lecture Series at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 23. During that presentation, Ken will share his story and experiences, showing pictures and videos that tell the story of the North American alligator.

The presentation will be given in the Gary K. Clarke Living Classroom and admission to the event is free. For more information on the presentation, contact the zoo at 785-368-9180. Alligator Frenzy opens May 9.

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