In Florida in the late 19th Century, herons, egrets, pelicans and many other birds were slaughtered by the thousands by hunters who would sell the feathers to be used in the fashion industry. To protect nesting birds from hunters, in 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt established the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. It was the first parcel of federal land in what would become the National Wildlife Refuge system. Today there are over 500 national wildlife refuges (29 in Florida).
Tonight at a public hearing, the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge will hear from the public on a proposal to allow the hunting of alligators (duck hunting, and fishing, is already allowed at the refuge). If approved, it would be the first and only alligator hunt in the entire National Wildlife Refuge system. The proposal would also return hunting for profit to federal lands in Florida.
Like birds who had been nearly driven to extinction by plume hunters, the American alligator was decimated by hunters looking to make money (by selling the alligator’s skin). Alligator numbers recovered after the species received federal protection in 1967, and hunting began again in 1988.
Today, the alligator is the only animal in Florida that hunters kill in expectation of a financial reward. The skin and flesh of dead alligator’s is often sold following the hunt.
Please speak out against the alligator hunting proposal at a public meeting hosted by the Refuge.
When: Thursday, September 20 beginning at 6:00pm
Where: Vista Center, 2300 North Jog Road, West Palm Beach
If you can’t make it to the September 20 meeting, please mail or email your written comments to:
Rolf Olson, Deputy Project Leader
ARM Loxahatchee NWR
10216 Lee Road
Boynton Beach, FL 33473