Thieves Reportedly Kidnap and Release Wally the "Emotional Support Alligator" Into the Wild

His human says Wally won't survive in the wild.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

May 1 2024, Published 12:10 p.m. ET

An internet-famous alligator has gone missing in the swamps of Georgia, according to his loving human Joie Henney, who has been caring for the 8-year-old alligator since he adopted Wally when he was just 1. Henney has shared details of his relationship with Wally the emotional support alligator with the gator's massive TikTok fanbase, who has been following the duo since Henney started posting about their adventures in 2022.

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Henney says Wally went missing while the pair were getting some much-needed R and R while vacationing down in Georgia. He's asking for the public's help in finding the beloved gator, who went missing from his enclosure while Henney was fishing. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like a happy ending will be in store for Wally, who by all accounts brought so much joy to everyone who knew him. Here's what you need to know about Wally's story, including the sad update that may seal his fate.

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Emotional Support Alligator Wally was stolen by a "prankster."

Wally, who once spent his days visiting nursing homes and ballfields to offer hugs and snuggles to those in need, was reported missing by Henney on April 21, 2024 in the town of Brunswick, Ga.

Wallygator, as he's known by fans, was last seen by Henney in his enclosure, according to USA Today. Henney says the 4-foot-long rescue gator went missing in the early hours of the morning explaining in additional updates how it would've been impossible for Wally to leave of his own accord.

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Henney made a plea to the public to get Wally home after he assumed that the reptile had been taken by someone who didn't like the fact that Wally was living in captivity. In a later update, Henney said that an official from Georgia's Department of Natural Resources revealed that Wally had been taken by someone pulling a prank on a neighbor, and in the confusion, had been released in a local swamp after being recovered on neighboring lawn.

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Is Wally the emotional support alligator dead?

While Henney says that it's unlikely that Wally will survive in the wild, he remained optimistic in his Facebook posts, writing that his hope was that there would be power in numbers, and that Wally would be able to survive with so many of his own kind by his side to keep him safe. Wally will likely face threats from natural predators, and perhaps even more likely, humans who would get too close to the now docile gator.

The community has rallied behind Henney and Wally, offering both words of support and financial contributions — a GoFundMe fundraiser had reached more than $6,000 of a $30,000 goal as of May 1, 2024 — but there's no way of knowing if either of those things will be enough to bring Wally home.

My heart goes out to Henney, who is obviously heartbroken over Wally's disappearance. But, at the same time, I can't help but think about how traumatic this must be for Wally himself, and I hope that wherever he is, he's found some measure of safety and comfort among his peers.

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