Sprawl Increases Dangerous Alligator Encounters

As urban sprawl intrudes into protected wildlife habitat, dangerous encounters with alligators are on the rise.
June 23, 2003, 6am PDT | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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A fatal attack on 12-year-old Bryan Jeffrey Griffin in Lake County is a tragic reminder of how likely alligator run-ins have become. As more than 17 million Floridians venture into the gators' domain, building homes ever closer to almost every lake and river near open land, the chances of such deadly encounters continue to escalate. "What emerges very clearly is that Florida is the site of the most attacks and most fatalities, " said James Perran Ross, an alligator expert with the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. Florida has an estimated 1 million alligators. Louisiana has more, yet it has had only one attack and no documented fatalities, according to state wildlife officials. According to Noel Kinler, alligator program manager with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, "...most of our [alligator] habitat is separated from where people live."

Thanks to Sheryl Stolzenberg

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Published on Friday, June 20, 2003 in Sun-Sentinel
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