Robbie Norville, biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, said there are a number of reasons why nuisance alligators are moved to Holly Shelter Game Lands in Pender County.
One of the most important is that the protected lands near Hampstead, pocketed with creeks and wetlands, are prime gator habitat.
But Norville admits that means the game lands already have a healthy population of alligators too.
And what happens when the local animals interact with their new neighbors?
“Yes, there are a lot of unknowns out there,” Norville said. “But in some cases, that’s the only avenue we have left.”
That’s because as more people crowd the coast, they’re moving into areas where gators have been for millions of years – but not people.
Along with those interactions, we’re often building prime gator habitat in the form of stormwater detention ponds and drainage ditches that are perfect areas for alligators to set up shop and migrate between habitats.
And alligator numbers are probably increasing too, benefiting from the continued protections offered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
That includes prohibitions from killing or disturbing the prehistoric reptiles.
Finally, Norville said alligators are known to range far and wide, especially mature animals, in searching out mates and new habitat.
That means that even though the alligator might get what’s supposed to be a free one-way ticket to the game land, he might not be hanging around there for very long.
Date posted: May 24, 2010
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