Video Courtesy of Ray J. Walter, Ph.D.
On Tuesday April 19th Alligator Alliance lost one of our favorite alligators.
Crunch & Munch was in a retaining pond near the Leland Walmart and he was very popular in the community. He was a big, beautiful boy of 11 feet and estimated to weigh in at around 500-600 pounds.
We’d like to start off by saying that Jimmy English’s Wildlife Removal Service did a very good job of capturing Crunch & Munch. They did it very fast and without harming the alligator. We were first told about the removal by Matt Born of StarNews. When we arrived on the scene we got to talk to Jimmy English and the other members of his crew. They were very nice and professional and took the time to speak to us about how this relocation was done to protect the alligator, as well as the public.
One of our mottos is “IF WE EDUCATE, WE WON’T HAVE TO RELOCATE.” We’re never happy when one of our Brunswick County alligators has to be taken out of their habitat, but we realize that sometimes it just can’t be helped. The reason Crunch & Munch had to be relocated was because of human interaction. Even though it is against the law to feed alligators, he was often being fed. Even though it is against the law to harass an alligator, we were told that there were several incidents of people actually getting in the water to approach him.
This is why it is so important NOT to feed an alligator (or any wild animal). If an alligator is fed ONE TIME it then associates humans with food. The alligator then loses its fear of humans. If you see an alligator in the wild and it starts to approach you that’s a good sign that someone has been illegally feeding it. The alligator sees you and thinks “free meal.” Otherwise a wild gator will most likely flee from you.
Being able to see an alligator in the wild in our state is a wonderful opportunity. Over the past few years we have spent time with people near Crunch & Munch’s habitat. We’ve passed out brochures and wristbands. A lot of the people we met were parents that just wanted to show their children what an alligator in the wild looks like. Not one that’s in an aquarium, or in a zoo.
Crunch & Munch was relocated to Holly Shelter Game Land in Pender County, which consists of 75,000 acres of land. It’s a beautiful place. However, these game lands are managed by the Wildlife Resources Commission for public hunting. If there is ever an alligator hunting law passed in our state, the alligators that have been relocated there could eventually be hunted and killed.
We will miss Crunch & Munch and we’re certainly not alone. This alligator was loved by many. He had to be relocated by absolutely no fault of his own. He lost his habitat, his HOME, because some people simply could not observe the laws.
Alligator Alliance would like to thank Ray J. Walter, Ph.D. for permission to use his video. We are always thrilled to meet others who are willing to share in our quest to be a voice for the alligators in Brunswick County that we love so much.