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)
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.
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.
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.
4. unprovoked adj.
無故的 (wu2 gu4 de5)
例: You hit me for no reason! It was completely unprovoked!