Alligators Should Be Relocated

By / Letters to the Editor / Wednesday, 17 August 2016 04:00

Dear Editor,
I’m originally from “up North” so admittedly have no real life experience with alligators.  We may not have alligators in the Northeast but it’s not like we don’t know they exist or where they typically live.  My teacher, way back when, taught us that alligators have a low tolerance for salt and that most alligators inhabit fresh water.  Funny, I googled “habitat for the american alligator” and the article I found indicated the exact same thing.  Why then, are there alligators in the waterway between Florida Avenue and Gibby’s?  
I now live in Carolina Beach and love to take advantage of the weather, ocean, and parks in my beautiful new home town.  And, I’m lucky to have found a group of delightful women who love to paddle board (SUP).  We appreciate the wildlife we have here on the island and understand that it’s their home too.  However, I would argue that the American alligator is NOT indigenous to this area NOR to this waterway.  I realize I’m just a resident who LOVES to paddle board from Florida Ave to Gibby’s but we are a destination for tourists and folks who reside over the bridge who also enjoy paddleboarding, swimming, and kayaking in this waterway.  Local businesses rely on us to support them as we participate in these outdoor activities.  Typically, I paddle with a number of women who make their home on and off the island.  We support the local businesses with rentals, drink, food, etc. when we meet up to paddle.  We all contribute to the economic viability of this island we call Pleasure.
Why am I writing this letter?  I found the mayor’s response to numerous calls regarding the alligators around Gibby’s is unacceptable.  The mayor is not willing to facilitate relocating the gators to a more indigenous environment and in the article dismissed the severity of the issue by citing an enhanced awareness of our alligators to the tragedy at Disney.  I apologize Mayor but my enhanced awareness stems from LARGE GATORS making their presence known in the canal.  What’s even more disturbing is the fact that people are FEEDING THE ALLIGATORS!  Who does this?  And, why are we allowing this to happen??  If you are not going to move the alligators, can we at least fine individuals for feeding the gators?
According to an article in WWAY on June 24, 2016,
“Officials with the NC Wildlife Resource Commission say areas like the canal in Carolina Beach is a natural habitat for alligators. They say when the alligators start approaching the proximity to houses, docks, and people, it is probably because they are deliberately being fed or can find food in the area.
Poaching, harming, harassing, or intentionally feeding alligators in North Carolina is illegal.
The NCWRC will only try to remove an alligator from an area if it is in excess of 9 feet long, crawls up on public or private property, or is blocking a roadway.”
If this article is true, than either the canal is not salty or alligators do not prefer fresh water.  Regardless, it’s interesting that the article points out that alligator sightings close to docks, homes, etc result from “deliberate feeding”!  And, call me crazy but I think a 4 foot alligator warrants removal too. My point is...what’s so magic about 9 feet?
While sitting on a boat docked at Mona Black last night, I witnessed a large alligator rise to the surface and began moving, at an alarming pace, to a small boat heading in the direction of the basin.  The boat didn’t see the gator but managed not to hit it.  I’m just thankful that no one decided to take a dip!
As I finish this article, a friend and fellow paddleboarder, sent our group a link to a news story involving a Florida woman whose hand was nearly bitten off by a a 4 1/2 foot alligator when she simply reached down to the water, while STILL ON HER DOCK, to pick up a can that had fallen in the water.  This is scary!!  
As for our paddle board group?  Some of the group spent the day on Friday in Wrightsville looking for alternative places to paddle board and ultimately, spend our money. They’ve lent their support to this article.  
When will we see that alligators in the canal is an issue and make arrangements to safely relocate these gators?  If it’s a money issue, I’ll happily donate my time to help raise the funds needed to move these gators.  I always like to find a positive and there are many living here on Pleasure Island.  Since I called out the Mayor in this editorial, I thought I would send him something positive too.  I’d like to thank the Mayor for his hard work and dedication on the new CB Boardwalk.  It’s beautiful.  
Maureen Vasquez
Resident and avid SUP’er
Jan Vipperman
Resident and avid SUP’er
Janet Creamer
OTB Resident and avid SUP’er
Pat Holleman
Resident and avid SUP’er


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