In the lake at the back of our Condo in Florida we had an alligator, George. He wasn’t fed, he wasn’t to be approached, but he was very much part of the community: he had his favourite spots to sunbath, one of which was right outside our porch. We can and should coexist with nature!
People Fed This Alligator. Then Florida Officials Hired a Hitman to Kill It.
Kayakers, paddleboarders, and other nature enthusiasts near Florida’s Silver Springs State Park knew the male alligator well. Approximately 40 years old, he had grown to a massive 12 feet long, and he loved to spend his days spread out in sunny spots on the edge of the water. But in late February 2022, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission decided to hire a trapper to get rid of the animal, right in his own home waters. And so, at dusk, people paddling in the waters nearby heard a single gunshot go off: the trapper had shot the poor creature right in the head.
It all started when the alligator got too close to a paddleboarder visiting the state park. As the woman glazed through the waters, the curious gator slowly swam over to check her board out. Expecting food, it opened its jaws, scaring her. While the animal ultimately went away and no one was hurt, the interaction caught the public’s attention. But the real truth is that this whole encounter happened because many people had likely been feeding this animal for a long period of time. That both led to his size and made him feel too comfortable and familiar with humans. Ultimately, that human interference caused this wild animal’s death.
The outcome is not the poor creature’s fault — the blame lies with people instead. This poor creature was just doing his own thing, in the waters that were his home, in a state park. Florida authorities must create a more thorough public education campaign with signs informing the public that feeding wildlife is signing its death warrant. And because the sad truth is that some people will still feed the animals anyway, Florida officials must create a no-kill policy for those wildlife that humans still feed. Sign the petition to prevent future executions of wildlife!