I have been following the news about Big Al and Joe Maffo closely. A recent letter inspired me to also take a stand on this issue, especially since my child has attended Maffo's critter presentation at the Coastal Museum several times now. He provides our kids with such a rare opportunity to get to know our wildlife better with his hands-on educational programs, his passion for wildlife and his job. We are lucky to have him.
I recently moved to Hilton Head Island. The wildlife is what drew me to this magnificent island. It's sad and disturbing to see what appears to be a kill-on-sight policy and the retribution Maffo faces for letting an alligator go. What happened to true conservation and trusting the specialists (in this case Maffo) on whether an alligator is a threat to anyone?
It is sad to see what we humans have done to bring about the extinction of whole species and habitats. There is such a fine line between control and endangerment. Once that line is crossed, it's hard to come back. Just look at the sea turtles.
I think it would be refreshing to see South Carolina branding itself as a state that stands for conservation and education. All tourists love to see the gators. And old, big ones like Big Al are true S.C. accomplishments and conservation achievements. We need to be protectors, not competitors, of wildlife.
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Hilton Head Island