When it comes to alligator rescue, if you think a little lady can’t keep up with the dudes, you haven’t seen Gator Girl Ashley Lawrence in action.
Standing at 4 feet and 11 inches tall, Lawrence holds her own on the Animal Planet series Gator Boys. Alongside men three times her size, they capture wild alligators with their bare hands in the unprotected Florida waters. These conservationists from the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue are in a race against trappers who hunt nuisance gators for profit.
Sure, Ashley says when she shows up at a job, she’ll occasionally get raised-eyebrow looks from skeptics, but once she goes to work, any doubt in her abilities is quickly forgotten.
“Once we deal with the alligator, people are so overwhelmed with gratitude, they’re shaking our hand,” Lawrence says. “They’re just so glad the job is done.”
She teased with an upcoming episode of Gator Boys where she and two other Gator Girls are called on to handle a monstrous 9-foot gator in the midst of a delicious duck feeding frenzy. As she walked up to the scene, she says she quickly realized she wasn’t dealing with an animal that was willing to go quietly.
“He was an absolute dragon,” Lawrence adds.
To make matters worse, a torrential thunderstorm started, leaving her and her Gator Girls team to deal with a pissy, massive, wet and slippery gator — in the mud.
“At that point, you look at the team you’re with and you realize everyone has got to be on point,” Lawrence says. “It was so exhilarating, and we got it done. We were even able to lift all 250 pounds of it into the truck.”
While the aim of the Gator Boys series is to shine a spotlight on animal rights and conservation, Lawrence says she hopes her role on the show helps viewers see the women in their lives a little bit differently, too.
“I hope it helps people see the strength in their sisters and mothers,” Lawrence says. “They may not have as big of biceps, but women can grow strength in different ways.”
Girls and boys, she adds, can benefit from seeing, and talking about, women taking on non-traditional roles.
“People think this stuff isn’t an issue anymore,” she says. “But it’s definitely something we should talk about.”
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