Alligators In The News
If you know me, you know how much I love alligators (and how long-winded I can be about them). After submitting my Letter to the Editor, I quickly got a response from my longtime friend, Morgan Harper. Morgan wanted me to edit the letter down to less than 400 words, which was hard for me to do, because I had worked so hard on it. I felt like ALL of it was good information that I wanted to share with the public. It was a struggle to edit it down and I was so thankful for Morgan’s help!
In my spare time I am also a writer. I have written and digitally published one children’s book about bullying (and my favorite alligator) entitled “BEAUTIFUL BEAU.” You can read it under the BOOKS section of our website. I have completed my second children’s book and am currently working on my third one. Both will be released in 2023.
I do want to share with you all that we do not live fulltime in Brunswick County (NC). We spend a LOT of our time working there during the warmer months (March-October), when the alligators come out of brumation and are on the prowl. We operate our organization out of Brunswick County (NC). We are in the process of expanding our organization to include Columbus County (Lake Waccamaw, NC), where there is a healthy population of alligators.
What do we do, for those of you who are visiting our website for the first time? I’ll try to keep this as short as possible, LOL. After seeing my first alligator in the wild in Southport, NC in July of 2010, I fell in love with them. I noticed that “Charlie’s” habitat was completely full of trash, where people had been illegally feeding him. I had the idea that I could help “Charlie” out by cleaning his habitat. My husband made me an extended grabber and I went to work. People started stopping to talk to me and I found out where other alligators were. Their habitats were dirty too.
One thing led to another and in late 2014, Alligator Alliance was born. Most of the alligators I see stay in their same habitats year after year. Others, I see once and then never again. I name every one of them and visit them regularly in rotation (I call this being on “Gator Patrol”). I keep a log of when I see them (date, temperature and I also note any injuries). Swamp water truly runs through my veins!
When we post photos online, we are extremely careful not to expose the location of the alligator. Some of the alligators we observe are on private property, in private ponds. We are extremely grateful to these property owners.
We do free informational presentations (we’re booked for 2022). We mainly do them for neighborhoods or subdivisions that have retaining ponds with gators. We don’t announce the presentations on our website. We leave that up to the HOA Committees, because these presentations are not for the general public. In 2016 we did a presentation for the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department and they did a press release. We do not do presentations for anyone who charges an admission price.
We hand out free brochures and wristbands. If you’d like a brochure, e-mail me and I’ll mail you one. There are a lot of people who contact us about signage. If you want a “Beware Of Alligator, Do Not Feed” sign put up in your neighborhood, you can try contacting the NCWRC and asking them to put one up for you. We can’t put them up for you. We’re planning on having some made next year that we can mail out, so people can put them up themselves.
We’re not affiliated with any other organizations. We don’t work for the NCWRC. We can’t relocate alligators and we aren’t licensed trappers. Mainly, we like to see them stay in their natural habitats, if at all possible. When we have people who contact us to complain about an alligator, we refer them to the NCWRC.
Alligator Alliance is 100% self-funded and non-profit. I knew early on that our organization would have only two “human” members (my husband and I). The REAL members of this organization are the alligators that we work so hard to protect. Our “Alliance” is with them.
I don’t expect everyone to feel the same way about alligators that I do. They’re scary and can be extremely dangerous. I try to be very respectful of other people’s opinions (even though I might try to convince you to give gators a chance, LOL). Please practice EXTREME social distancing when you come into contact with one. Stay away! Use your binoculars. Take photos with a zoom lens. Appreciate them from afar. I’m so thankful that we live in a state where we can observe these “swamp dragons” in their natural habitat and not in a zoo, or aquarium!
I have listed some links below that I obtained info from and I hope you’ll take a moment to look at our website. My husband has worked very hard on it and it has a wealth of information. Thanks for reading this! And thanks to Morgan Harper, Editor of the State Port Pilot, for allowing me to talk about my favorite subject (again)!
11-Foot Gator Frightens Brunswick County Families
WECT NEWS 6 (7/27/22)
Boiling Springs Police Seek Person Who Killed Alligator
Star News Online (9/10/14)
Severed Alligator Head Tied To Onslow County Bridge
News Channel 12 ABC (9/17/14)
NC Warming: Will Climate Change Allow Alligators To Live West of Fayetteville, I-95?
Star News Online (2/28/22)
NC Wildlife Resources Commission
My Unedited Letter To The State Port Pilot
My husband and I own and operate Alligator Alliance. We are 100% self-funded and non-profit. We have been cleaning alligator habitats since 2010. We also attempt to educate people about the facts and myths of these magnificent creatures.
First let me say that I know not everyone feels the same way about alligators that we do. They are scary and can be extremely dangerous when humans interact with them. The most common mistakes people make are getting too close to them and illegally feeding them. The latter causes the alligator to forever associate a human with a free meal. These alligators are referred to as food conditioned.
Here are some more helpful tips from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC):
If you encounter an alligator, please give it plenty of space. Leave it alone. Do not approach it or follow it. If you go away, chances are it will go away. Alligators are usually shy and secretive. They typically do not stay in one area for an extended period of time. They move considerable distances and will eventually leave on their own. Only authorized wildlife biologists and wildlife officers can remove problem alligators. In most instances, it is not necessary to do anything other than leave it alone. Feeding, harassing or harming alligators is dangerous and a violation of NC law. Killing an alligator could cost you a $500 fine and 2-24 months in jail. Research shows that the majority of alligator attacks are caused by people attempting to capture, pick up or feed them.
Alligators in NC remain on the “Threatened Species” list. The main threat to these reptiles today is habitat loss caused by wetland drainage and development. After years of research by the Alligator Task Force (and numerous public meetings), NC had its first alligator hunting season since 1973. The NCWRC awarded 20 permits by lottery in 2018, out of 1800 applications. All 20 permits were issued in Hyde County, for a 30 day period from September 1st - October 1st. Only one alligator was actually harvested.
Please remember, this area was their home long before we started clearing land and building our own homes. Loss of habitat is a huge issue, not only for alligators, but for all wildlife. It is inevitable that humans will come into contact with some form of wildlife on any given day. Alligators lost even more of their habitat due to Hurricane Florence in 2018 when the Sanford Dam in BSL failed. It caused the city’s other dams to burst, including the Upper Dam, Pine Lake Dam and North Lake Dam, draining much of the water out and turning the BSL lakes into a virtual desert. Alligators need water to survive.
In September of 2014 a 9 foot alligator was illegally caught with a baited line near the Big Lake in BSL. It was then intentionally killed and dumped in a ditch along Alton Lennon Road. It was determined that someone had drilled a hole through its head while it was still alive. That very same week a severed alligator head was found tied to a bridge near Gottschalk Marina at Camp Lejeune (Onslow County). The 10 foot alligator's body was later found in Wallace Creek. To my knowledge, these brutal crimes are yet to be solved.
In April of 2016 a 600 lb, 11 foot alligator had to be relocated due to human interaction (he was in a retaining pond near the Leland Walmart). He had been peacefully residing in a nearby natural pond for many years along Hwy 17. When construction of apartments and businesses began and that retention pond was created, he crawled over the top of the hill to check things out. Due to his size he quickly became very popular and was being illegally fed. He was relocated 3 times between 2014 and 2016 (alligators have been known to return to their original habitat after being relocated up to 100 miles away). He was relocated twice to the Green Swamp, which Town Creek originates from (and shortly returned to his old habitat). The third time he was taken to Holly Shelter Game Lands in Pender County.
We understand why people are so afraid of alligators! They are extremely dangerous and that’s why it is so important to keep away from them. ANY body of water in the eastern part of NC has the potential to have an alligator in it. Also, keep your pets away from them. To an alligator a dog looks like a deer and a cat looks like a raccoon. Please don’t feed them (it is illegal and carries a $500 fine). Alligators are constantly on the prowl, looking for new habitats, food and mates.
I would like to commend Ms Pennington for doing her research about alligators. I also want to commend Carol Woollery who contacted the NCWRC about the 11 foot gator, even though it didn’t have the outcome you all had hoped for. If you see something, say something. If you feel like an alligator is a threat to your neighborhood, call the NCWRC. At least make a report and have them come out and take a look at things. And if it doesn’t move on, contact them again.
Lastly, we are not trappers and we are not licensed to remove alligators. We also do not live fulltime in Brunswick County, but we spend a lot of time there during the warmer months (March-October), when the alligators are most active. Please be safe everyone!