According to a story in the Christian Science Monitor, Georgia will join a growing number of states allowing alligator hunting to control that species’ numbers.
This quite a turnaround for a species that whose numbers had dwindled in the 1960s to the point that Southern states instituted bans on alligator hunting. Today, however, alligator numbers have exploded to the point that alligator populations continue to expand even in states such as Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana where commercial hunting of alligators has been restored.
Georgia will not be reinstating serious commercial hunting of alligators, but will instead issue 180 alligator licenses targeting sport hunters. According to the Christian Science Monitor, that’s out of an estimated alligator population of 200,000.
This is the point in the story where we find the obligatory animal rights quote opposing the hunt, this time from the Animal Protection Institute’s Camilla Fox who told the Christian Science Monitor,
It’s better to try to coexist with the animal that is present than remove them and potentially bring in . . . a greater problem.
In a press release on its web site, the Animal Protection Institute expanded on Fox’s sentiments,
The state of Georgia is proposing its first alligator-hunting season for September 2003 — and the hunt will be excessively fierce and cruel.
. . .
By nature, alligators are shy and reclusive, and are typically wary of humans. As people continue to invade their territory, the animals are forced into closer contact with civilization. Loss of habitat, prey, and polluted waters are some of the risks that alligators already face. They do not need the added stress of being hunted as well.
If alligators are so stressed, why do their populations continue to increase? Sounds like it’s API that needs to relax.
The alligator hunt returns. Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor, June 16, 2003.
Help Stop the Cruel & Unnecessary Sport Hunting of Georgia Alligators. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute, July 24, 2003.