A rare breed, Leo Cross boasts one of Florida’s odder outdoor occupations. The burly, bearded rugby player rescues and removes creatures of land, sea and air everywhere from the Space Coast to Hillsborough County, around the clock.

Working out of his white 1998 Dodge Ram, Cross drives up to 1,500 miles per week manhandling manatees, wrangling hives of angry honeybees, and occasionally borrowing the Brevard Zoo’s net gun — “I spent six days in Port Canaveral chasing a wood stork with it,” he recalled.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 275-pound founder of Florida Wildlife Trappers loads his truck with an array of animal apparatuses: coyote cages, squirrel cages, a catchpole, wetsuit, swim fins and mask, scuba gear, a ladder, hand tools and tasty baits like peanut butter, Rice Krispies, cat food and oatmeal bars.

via Merritt Island trapper saves manatees, captures critters.

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