Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Non-Anderson post on the 360 blog that caught my eye!

'Alligators like easy prey'
Quick! Gator sighting. Get over to this address. A trapper is about to catch one.

That was the word from CNN's assignment desk. The timing was right on. No sooner did we make our way to the back of a lakefront Florida home, than we heard veteran gator hunter Todd Hardwick yell, "Gator up!"

The gator had been sitting at the bottom of the lake for about an hour, evidently hoping that the guy who'd been circling the lake's perimeter would go away.

When the nine footer came up for air, Hardwick's hook landed him and he reeled in the 200-300 pounder. Hardwick sat on the gator's back and taped its snout, while I held a "catch pole."

With three women fatally attacked in the span of a week in Florida (only 20 such attacks have been recorded in nearly 60 years in Florida), Floridians have been calling trappers around the clock to capture gators.

The trappers have a priority list. The longest ones and those who are spotted on land go first. Then the smaller and more remote ones follow.

There's no charge to call a trapper. They're given permits and processors pay them by the foot for what they catch -- from as much as $55-60 per foot to as little as $15 per foot when they're plentiful.

When the gators are killed, nothing is wasted, Hardwick says. The meat, the hide, even the skull are sold.

In case you're wondering what to do if you ever come across a gator, Hardwick says you should ignore the common suggestion to run in a zig-zag pattern. He says it's just an old wives tale. You can try running straight away, but gators are very quick over short distances.

What you can do, if attacked, is "fight for your life," Hardwick says. Punch, kick, gouge out its eyes, and you might get it to back off. "Alligators like easy prey."
Posted By Susan Candiotti, CNN Correspondent: 12:14 PM ET

What do you all think?


xtina said...

well, it is mating season for gators, but maybe we're over-developing Florida and pushing them out of their habitat.

Rita said...

I didn't like the fact that the gators were going to be killed-even if all the parts were sold; to me the right thing to do would be to relocate them since they are a very entricate part of our ecosystem. Is it their fault that they are higher up on the food chain than us?! I think not! This story really got to me. I think gators as well as crocs are beautiful, magnificent animals that shouldn't be feared but understood. Just gotta love them!! And I really think they should have gotten Steve Irwin to discuss the issues, after all he is the Crocodile Hunter!!!