BOILING SPRING LAKES, N.C. (WECT) – Living in southeastern North Carolina, you get used to different kinds of wildlife — from sharks in the ocean to alligators in ponds and marshes. For the most part, these predators leave people alone, but every now and then, they can pose threats to humans and pets.
Tina MacCammon lives in Boiling Spring Lakes where she keeps a flock of ducks in a small pond in her backyard. Normally, the ducks spend their days on the water, however, a new addition to the pond had grounded the flock.
“I’ve got a gator, he’s been here for about three weeks now. He has eaten five of my ducks,” MacCammon said.
Since alligators are federally protected, the state only allows them to be removed by professionals who are permitted to relocate them. Distraught over the loss of several of her pets, she reached out to the North Carolina Department of Wildlife to see if she could get a permit for a company to do that.
“He removes them humanely and will relocate it miles away, but he will do no harm so it can have a nice, healthy life somewhere else and do what he’s supposed to do — somewhere else,” she said.
MacCammon said the state told her they would not issue a relocation permit, but it’s not because they don’t care about the ducks. Chris Kent, a biologist for North Carolina Wildlife, said that removing alligators from places they aren’t welcomed isn’t possible.
“It’s just not practical or feasible to relocate every alligator that shows up in a place that people don’t want it,” he said.
Not only is it not feasible, but alligators are wild animals, and removing them from their habitat could cause them problems like predation from larger alligators.
“You know, when it all boils down, coexistence is imperative. These animals have been here a lot longer than people and they are going to be here for many, many years to come,” Kent said.
There are resources online that Kent encourages people to use when dealing with alligators, and learning to coexist with the prehistoric reptiles that call the Cape Fear region home.
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