An alligator finds its home invaded by a kitchen and frantically dials 911. WATCH EXCLUSIVE VIDEO BELOW THE FOLD!
"HOME INVASION" screams a graphic across the Today Show screen, but exactly who has invaded the home of whom? The MSM and the internet is atwitter about a certain critter, namely an alligator, that found its way into a Tampa Florida resident's kitchen. However, only fifty years ago, the American Alligator was nearly hunted to extinction in Florida, were placed on the endangered species list in 1973, and then delisted in 1987 when their population rebounded. Today, the greatest environmental threats to alligators are habitat Loss and pollution.As Florida’s human population continues to expand its footprint and encroaches on alligator habitat, encounters between the two species are inevitable, but human fatalities due to alligators are rare. 12,000 to 14,000 nuisance gators are reported to the state each year and licensed trappers kill 5,000 of these.
Now, alligators can grow to be over a ton, so actually a 230 pound gator is not that large all things considered. That point being just one of many missed opportunities for fruitful discussion, we have every confidence that by continuing to plant the seeds of those ideas here, the next time an alligator is propelled into the headlines, the Today Show will understand and seize the opportunities at hand (or at claw as it were). The opportunities to report on issues of habitat loss and to continue the dialogue between humans and our animal neighbors. We're looking forward to the show's producers calling in our colleague, environmental reporter and sometimes NBC reporter Simran Sethi to cover the story in a fun, informative and in-depth fashion as only she can.
One can see from EPA reports that over the past several years only a few acres of Alligator habitat have been restored around Tampa Florida.
WATCH>> Google Earth: Human Development in the Tampa Area Susty.tv -- Google Earth: Human Development in the Tampa Area from George Spyros on Vimeo.
Biologists think that roughly a million gators thrive in Florida -- about one gator for every 19 state residents -- in every kind of watery habitat, from drainage ponds to slightly salty coastal lagoons. But that wasn't always the case. Nearly 50 years ago, the armor-plated predators were prized for their exotic hides and hunted to near-extinction. The state and federal governments eventually stepped in, declaring the reptiles as a species protected from hunters. Their recovery was explosive, fueled in part by survival skills acquired in the 200 million years alligators and their ancestors have prowled swamps. The federal government continues to list alligators as threatened, but only to provide a shield of protections for an animal of close resemblance -- the rare American crocodile of South Florida. Florida officials classify alligators as a species of special concern, which means they get extra protections as an imperiled animal. Those include more-intense conservation research and more-restrictive hunting rules. But the state might strip away that designation in the coming decade so that alligators are treated as an ordinary target for hunters along with deer, turkeys and hogs.
Species Spotlight: American Alligator | Living With Alligators Guide PDF Download