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Crushed by the mighty jaws.

Jungleland Zoo closing down: Victim of bad economy or bad housekeeping?

One of Orlando, FL's most distinctive attractions, Jungleland Zoo, former home of Stinker the Monkey ("I will ring the bell if you show me food") and current home to the world's second largest alligator statue, has removed its animals from public view and, as of last week, was selling its gift shop stock at 50 percent off -- a clear sign that the attraction is going belly-up. JungleLand's owners argue they are a victim of the post 9/11 economy, but a local TV station reports that the Zoo is being investigated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

A defiant letter by the owners taped onto the window of the gift shop door, a copy of which was sent, it claims, to President Bush, does not clarify matters, but does convey the magnitude of the event. "This treatment by Channel 6 smacks of an old time lynching," it reads in part, and "Animals do not breed in places they are not comfortable in and all our breeding pairs produce here at Jungleland."

Jungleland was warned in June after a surprise visit by state inspectors that the "facility is suffering from a severe drainage issue," noting some rotted and cages and inadequate fence heights. The wildlife inspections form also reported at the time: "The animals looked healthy."

The Zoo's animals, equipment, and caging are reportedly up for sale, but the eventual fate of the world's second largest alligator statue, embellished with a half-eaten jeep, is not yet known.

Gator Motel. On the south side of US Hwy 192/W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy just east of 4 Winds Blvd.
Nov. 2014: Gator demolished.

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