Alligator that lunged at DI resident and pet removed by SCDNR
An alligator that was deemed aggressive by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was removed from a pond near the intersection of Josiah Street and Village Crossing Drive on Daniel Island on March 19.
According to Chris Hamil, field operations manager for the Daniel Island Property Owners Association (POA), their office received a call from resident Heather Hollifield after an alligator reportedly lunged at her and her leashed pet.
“Field operations promptly met with the resident to confirm the incident and location,” said Hamil. “Upon inspection of the location, the alligator was still present. A call was made to our Department of Natural Resources approved wildlife specialist to assess the alligator.”
Once SCDNR arrived and tested the alligator for aggressiveness, the animal was promptly removed from the pond the same day of the incident.
“The POA was extremely attentive to my concerns when I called,” said Hollifield. “They came out to assess my concern and dealt with the situation immediately.”
It is important to note that once an alligator is removed, the SCDNR website states that it is illegal in South Carolina to relocate alligators, ultimately resulting in the animal being euthanized. The reason for the law? Alligators have been documented to return to areas from which they are removed, the website further states.
Though it is unfortunate that an aggressive alligator cannot be relocated, it is done for the safety of the community, continued Hamil.
“Safety for our residents and alligators are a top priority for our staff,” said Hamil. “We do not take these situations lightly, and tough decisions are made in the best interest for our residents.”
It is not unusual for alligators to show aggressiveness, especially during this time of the year, added Hamil. Because of this, it is vital for residents to remember to keep their pets on leashes and remain vigilant when around water.
“We are beginning to enter the mating season for alligators, and behavior like this is not uncommon,” said Hamil. “We continually inform our residents to be vigilant while enjoying our trail systems, and considering the presence of wildlife, especially near any open water, marsh, and ponds.”
Also important, stressed Alligator Program Biologist for the SCDNR Andrew Grosse, is to remember that feeding and harassing alligators is not only unsafe but against the law.
“Feeding is not limited to just intentionally giving food to an alligator,” said Grosse. “It also includes enticing an alligator to feed (i.e. throwing a baited hook towards an alligator to try and get a reaction) or unintentionally feeding an alligator (i.e. dumping bait or cleaned fish carcasses at the water’s edge or feeding the ‘other’ wildlife –ducks, geese, fish). These actions seem harmless but they can result in alligators becoming bolder and losing their natural fear of humans. That’s when these negative alligator-human interactions are more likely to occur.”
If you have any questions or concerns regarding an alligator in a pond or lake near you, please call the POA office at (843) 971-9200. Additional information can be obtained by visiting the SCDNR website at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/herps/alligator.html.