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Star of CMT's 'Gator 911' to hold live shows at Texas Zoo

By BY GHENI PLATENBURG
June 13, 2011 at 1:13 a.m.


Gary Saurage is returning to Victoria, and he is bringing his reptiles with him.

Saurage, star of Country Music Television's reality show, "Gator 911" will be in Victoria beginning Friday to participate in a Texas Zoo fundraiser.

Sponsored by Interstate Battery, the fundraiser will help the zoo raise money for general operating expenses.

"There are a lot of things that need to be done at the zoo," said Andrea Blomberg, zoo executive director. "We have to keep this place open 365 days a year, feed the animals, maintain the facilities, pay for heating and cooling. It takes a lot of money to keep the doors open."

Blomberg said the zoo wants to raise at least $8,000 from Saurage's visit.

Saurage, who rescues about 150 alligators a year, came to Victoria in April to replace the zoo's large alligators - Popeye, Sweet Pea, and Bluto - with three rescued smaller ones, who share the same names as their bigger counterparts.

He took the large alligators back to Gator Country, his 15-acre adventure park and reservation for alligators, crocodiles and snakes located in Beaumont.

With donations from Aloe Elementary School, the smaller alligators, who are between 1 and 2 years old, were housed in a renovated exhibit at the Texas Zoo.

They went on display on May 31.

On Saturday, Saurage will do three live Gator Country shows for zoo visitors.

Described as an interactive, educational, up-close-and-personal reptilian adventure, zoo visitors are expected to learn about the rescue and preservation of alligators along with many other species

Other events that day will include dunking tanks with alligators and an opportunity for children to swim with small alligators.

"It will be a fun day," said Blomberg.

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