As expansion of hunting at wildlife refuges around the nation has gone underway, it looks like Palm Beach County's Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge has approved an alligator hunt as well.
Alligators thought they would be safe after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was inundated with over 1,300 from around the world telling them that gator hunting inside a wildlife refuge made no sense.
No so fast, alligators!
The refuge, wish spans 147,392 acres has served as a nature habitat for all kinds of spices of animals, as well as endangered ones.
The letters opposing the gator hunt basically say that the whole point of a refuge is just that -- a refuge -- for animals. Letting dudes in with harpoon guns and rifles to shoot gators willy-nilly kind of defeats the whole purpose of a REFUGE.
However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say that hunting in national refuges has been allowed for years, and that the alligator population at Loxahatchee National Wildlife is thriving enough to where hunting won't screw up their population, making it totally cool to pop a cap in a random gator's ass.
For now, only 11 hunters will be given permits to hunt gators in the refuge. If that goes smoothly, officials will expand the hunt for more dudes who wanna wrangle themselves up some alligator
Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that hunting allows people to appreciate nature, and that this particular hunt would do just that.
"Hunting and fishing are time-honored ways to enjoy the outdoors and teach people to value nature," he said. "Our National Wildlife Refuge System has millions of acres of public land and water to provide quality hunting and fishing experiences. We hope these expanded hunting and fishing programs will allow more Americans to experience this connection with nature."
Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge does have a few rules when it comes to gator hunting.
For example, hunters cannot use lead shot. Also, the hunters will be restricted to hunting gators within park hours, when only a small number of visitors will be at the refuge. Hunters must also observe a one-mile buffer zone that keeps them away from heavily used visitors' areas.
So, visitors should be OK.
The gators, however, are still screwed.