When an animal such as the alligator Big Al is destroyed, it always brings in letters from those who, I believe, have genuine and heartfelt but somewhat misguided notions about wildlife conservation.
Forty years ago, it was unusual to see an alligator in the wild. Deer populations were not nearly what they are today. And sea turtle populations were in decline.
Today's success of these and other species is not due to focus on individual animals. It is the result of science, hard work and regulation, by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
I don't know all the details surrounding the Big Al/Joe Maffo affair, but unfortunately, in cases like this, DNR seems to take the brunt of criticism, deserved or not.
If anyone really wants to help wildlife conservation in South Carolina, they could write to Gov. Nikki Haley, asking that she restore funding, or at least stop cutting funding, for DNR and please keep politics out of DNR matters.
Or, better yet, they could go buy a hunting and fishing license. More than 50 percent of DNR's budget to conserve South Carolina's natural resources comes directly or indirectly from the sale of licenses, and that work applies to all species, not just hunted species.
I also suggest that anyone who is interested in South Carolina's natural resources subscribe to South Carolina Wildlife magazine, a superb publication.
Perry E. Dukes
St. Helena Island