Editorial: Alligators And The Law

By / Editorials / الأربعاء, 17 آب/أغسطس 2016 04:00

Managing Editor

I received a letter from a local resident earlier this week regarding a lack of attention from Town officials to address alligators in the Carolina Beach yacht basin and Myrtle Grove sound. You can read that letter by clicking this link.
In short, the Town of Carolina Beach has very limited options and absolutely no authority to remove American alligators from their natural habitat. They occur naturally in North Carolina, inhabiting bay lakes, rivers, creeks, marshes, swamps and ponds, with local populations distributed in patches along the entire coast.
Alligator hunting or otherwise killing an alligator is prohibited in North Carolina. Occasionally, an alligator in a place of business or on a highway is moved by NC Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC) employees or authorized individuals. Earlier this year the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission turned down a proposal to permit hunting of alligators. According to the WRC, while hunting alligators is illegal in North Carolina, the Commission recognized that, in some areas at least, the distribution and relative abundance of alligators has increased, along with an increased interest in hunting in areas where alligator harvest is sustainable. The Commission is creating an alligator task force, which will be charged with developing the first North Carolina Alligator Management Plan and recommending a framework for gathering public input on the plan.
On rare occasions an alligator can cause a situation that does require immediate action, such as when it becomes trapped in a swimming pool or wanders into a public road and refuses to move. In those cases, only an authorized wildlife biologist or wildlife officer can remove it legally. However, a resolution signed by wildlife commissioners in February directed the agency to look at ways it could utilize the skills and expertise of North Carolina’s sportsmen to provide assistance in removing alligators under nuisance or depredation circumstances.
Alligators are as much a part of our natural environment as any other creature. Some are harmless while others pose a risk when confronted by humans. Good  examples are sharks, poisonous snakes, jelly fish, raccoons and coyotes. Point is, there is always a potential for conflict and people should respect nature and be aware of their surroundings.
If someone witnesses a person feeding an alligator in Carolina Beach, call the Wildlife Resources Commission.
They have local officers that can respond to such complaints and educate those parties or write them a ticket.
As for finding other places to paddle board in the Wrightsville Beach area verses Carolina Beach, there are gators there as well. I've even seen them swimming in the surf and walking on the beach.


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