Mon, Aug 21, 2006 - Page 15 News List

Florida: where gators and people live side by side 佛羅里達:人鱷共處

Twenty-year-old Jimmy Riffle kisses Crusty the alligator during an educational show at Native Village in Hollywood in the US state of Florida.
二十歲的吉米•萊夫在美國佛州好萊塢民俗村教育展上親吻鱷魚「酷弟」。 (照片:美聯社)

PHOTO: AP

It was curtains for Crusty the alligator. The 2.4m gator had been fed too many marshmallows, jelly beans and M&Ms, and had lost its fear of humans. Under state policy, it was legally labeled a nuisance, a virtual death sentence.

Crusty was saved by an anonymous donor, but more than 7,000 gators are killed annually under Florida's nuisance alligator criteria: 1.2m or longer and a perceived threat to people or pets. The broad policy allows for a gator to be killed for as little as being seen in a pond near children.

Biologists say the policy protects humans in Florida, where they say there is one gator to every nine people.

Animal rights advocates agree that public safety comes first, but wonder if the policy is too sweeping.

Mary Martin, a Florida resident who runs an animal rights Web site, is outraged by the policy.

“I'm horrified to see the lack of consideration that humans give alligators ... the reason we have this problem is because of us,” Martin said.

Decades of over-hunting and loss of habitat led to alligators being listed as an endangered species in 1967, but 40 years later, gator populations are doing very well.

Biologists say killing nuisance gators has no affect on alligator populations simply because there are so many.

Alligator trapper Todd Hardwick and others believe the answer to Florida's problem is education.

“Alligator common sense is lacking in Florida,” Hardwick said.

“You're surrounded by more than a million gators here. Behave properly and you'll be fine.”

While alligators can be a threat, attacks in Florida are very rare. Just 278 unprovoked bites, including 17 deadly attacks, have been reported since 1948 — excluding three deaths that happened in mid-May.(AP)

Today's Words 今天單字

1. nuisance n.

討厭的人事物 (tao3 yan4 de5 ren2 shi4 wu4)

例: Ever since my dishwasher broke, washing up is a nuisance.

(自從我的洗碗機壞掉,洗碗就成了一件惱人的事。)

2. perceived adj.

可被察覺的 (ke3 bei4 cha2 jue2 de5)

例:James gets angry really quickly. He fights over even the smallest perceived insults.

(詹姆斯很容易生氣,只要察覺他人稍有冒犯就會勃然大怒。)

3. sweeping adj.

廣泛的 (guang3 fan4 de5)

例: People from different cultures do have differences, but you shouldn't make sweeping assumptions based on them.

(不同文化背景的人的確有差異,但是不該因此做籠統的假設。)

4. unprovoked adj.

無故的 (wu2 gu4 de5)

例: You hit me for no reason! It was completely unprovoked!

(你無緣無故打我,簡直莫名其妙。)


鱷魚「酷弟」氣數已盡。這隻二點四公尺長的鱷魚被餵食過多的棉花糖、果凍QQ糖和M&Ms巧克力,而且對人類不再畏懼,根據州法,牠已構成妨害,足以處死。

一位無名氏救了「酷弟」的命,但根據佛羅里達州對鱷魚構成妨害行為的評判標準:超過一點二公尺,以及對人類或寵物構成可察覺威脅,每年有七千多隻鱷魚因此喪命。在此政策規範下,池中鱷魚連被看見靠近池邊的孩童都可能被殺。

生物學家表示此政策保護是為佛羅里達的州民。佛州的人鱷數量比為九比一。

動物權保育人士同意公共安全優先,但質疑政策是否過於過火。

經營保衛動物權利網站的佛羅里達居民瑪莉?馬丁,對這項政策大為不滿。

馬丁說:「我很驚訝地看到人們對鱷魚缺乏關注…我們之所以會有這個問題,原因在於我們自己。」

一九六七年,鱷魚因為長達數十年的過度獵捕和棲息地減少,被列為瀕臨絕種動物,不過四十年之後鱷魚的數量非常可觀。

因為鱷魚數量實在太多,生物學家認為宰殺構成妨害的鱷魚不會對鱷魚的數量產生影響。

鱷魚獵人陶德?哈維克與其他人士都認為,佛州問題的解決之道在於教育。

哈維克表示:「佛羅里達的人對鱷魚缺乏常識。」

「你四周有超過一百萬隻的鱷魚,只要守規矩就會沒事。」

鱷魚雖是一項威脅,在佛州造成的攻擊事件卻少之又少,自一九四八年以來只有兩百七十八起無故咬傷案例,其中包括十七件致命攻擊,但五月中造成三人死亡的事件則不包括在內。

(美聯社╱翻譯︰鄭湘儀)

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