Today’s Pensacola News Journal included a depressing story about the death of a 12-foot, 9-inch long alligator. The alligator was killed in the Yellow River early on Tuesday by college student Cole Flanders, and may be the largest killed by a Florida hunter this year. According to a state wildlife biologist, the alligator was at least 25 years old.
During the hunt, Flanders used fishing rods to throw three-prong “snatch” hooks; the first caught the alligator’s tail, the second hook cut into the alligator’s body underneath his leg. The alligator was then pulled close to the boat and shot in the head with a firearm. But the severely injured alligator got away from the hunters. “He came back to life,” Flanders told the newspaper. “I told my buddy to tape his mouth… He was taping his mouth, and all of a sudden, one of the alligator’s eyes opened, and the alligator went crazy. We were able to hold on to him and get another shot into him. That finished him off.” In all, the alligator was shot three times.
Stories like this are common during Florida’s alligator hunt. The suffering of alligators is undeniable; death is rarely quick.
Prior to this year’s hunt, ARFF sent letters to several wholesale food distributors in Florida asking them to stop distributing meat from hunted alligators. (If hunters were unable to sell the skin and flesh of alligators to recoup the cost of the permit, guide and equipment, Florida’s alligator hunt would be less popular and less alligators would be killed.)
One of the companies that ARFF contacted was Jacksonville’s Beaver Street Fisheries. In the company’s response, representative Adam Frisch wrote, “alligators are prehistoric killers whose prolific nature and lack of a natural predator would, if left unmanaged, overrun the state and extinguish numerous bird species, otters, manatees, and fish.”
This is not true. Alligators are not hunted in Florida because there are too many of them, and alligators do not eat manatees.
Please write to Beaver Street Fisheries and urge the company to end its financial support of Florida’s cruel alligator hunt. Ask them to commit not to distribute meat from hunted alligators. Contact:
Beaver Street Fisheries
Online comment form.