Committee of the Islands

Keeping Sanibel Special Since 1975

An alligator tale of three golf courses

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April 28, 2011

ISLAND SUN - APRIL 29 , 2011 10 Subsequently , in the middle of the night on November 19 , a trapper arrived An Alligator Tale and took two alligators , 8.8 feet and 6.7 feet long , from The Dunes golf course . The gators were destroyed , not relocated , in accordance with the Sanibel nuisance Of Three Golf Courses alligator program . Many residents of The Dunes neighborhood were very disturbed by this incident . One neighbor , Chantal Perrotte , put together a petition protesting by Barbara Joy Cooley , president , Committee of the Islands the harsh anti - alligator policy . By the time the petition was presented to the Sanibel olf courses , with their water features and green grassy City Council on April 5 , 2011 , more than 200 people had signed it . expanses , seem to attract some alligators . While all Policy changes after member input Gthree Sanibel golf courses might be similar in the eyes of It appears , however , that The Dunes has now acted to change its alligator policy . a gator , the reality of how these crocodilians are treated differs The January 11 , 2011 minutes of The Dunes Advisory Council state that club according to the golf course managers . “ members are unhappy that alligators have been removed even though they have Most islanders may know by now that The Sanctuary golf not been aggressive ; many members feel that the alligators / crocodile add to the course is Audubon - certified . It is also locally owned . And , it exotic nature of The Dunes and are a major attraction ; what can be done to see seems , it is a bit kinder to the wildlife . On its website , The that non - aggressive animals are not reduced further ? ” Sanctuary describes itself as sharing “ a symbiotic relationship Subsequently , the golf course manager at The Dunes has said that he would no with the island’s lifestyle as well as the natural habitats . As an longer take responsibility for requesting removal of nuisance alligators from the golf Audubon Society Cooperative Course surrounded by a national course . The January 11 minutes also quote The Dunes golf course manager recom - wildlife refuge , our club provides a unique balance between a world class golf course mending that “ any member who feels fearful of alligators should attend a SCCF and Mother Nature . ” ( Sanibel - Captiva Conservation Foundation ) wildlife tour or the alligator education The Dunes golf club is owned by a group called LXR , which describes itself as class at The Dunes . ” “ an extraordinary new collection of luxury properties that are some of the most At the Beachview golf course , on February 20 , a resident of Eagle Run Drive treasured luxury resorts , hotels , spas , golf clubs and marinas in the United States , called the police to complain about two alligators behind his home . The police offi - Puerto Rico and Caribbean ” on its website . The site calls The Dunes “ a lush Sanibel cers who responded reported that “ Upon arrival , both alligators were on the bank , Island golf course and club destination nestled amid an abundant natural landscape . ” but retreated into the water when we approached . The alligators stayed about 10 The Beachview golf club website boasts “ We are a member of Audubon feet from the bank , and would not come any closer . ” About these gators , former International’s Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses and take City of Sanibel Wildlife Committee member Larry Schopp reports , “ I observed them great pride in preserving the beautiful , natural Florida landscape that surrounds the on numerous occasions from the nearby shared - use path . On most of those occa - course . ” sions I was joined by delighted tourists as well , snapping pictures and watching in So what happens to alligators on these golf courses ? awe – from a safe distance . At no time did those alligators display aggressive behav - A series of police reports from 2010 describes efforts by The Dunes golf course ior in my presence . ” Nevertheless , these two alligators ( 6 feet and 5 to 5.5 feet management to remove ( and destroy ) all alligators over four feet long . One report long ) were subsequently caught and destroyed by the trapper , in accordance with says that the golf course manager , in describing the alligators ’ demeanors , “ stated the Sanibel nuisance alligator program . he has not seen any signs of aggression ; but fears for golfers ’ and residents ’ well In a very different incident in that same month of February , the golf course man - being , because people can get only a few feet from the alligators and they do not ager at The Sanctuary had to deal with a 9.9 - foot alligator that had “ become too move . ” The manager “ further requested the removal ( of the alligators ) would be best friendly , ” according to a Nuisance Alligator Harvest Permit issued by the Florida during the months of April or June when it’s not that busy or if the trapper could Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for just this one incident . The Sanibel possible ( sic ) remove them at night . ” Police evidently were not involved this time . The permit , issued on February 3 , Again , on November 8 , The Dunes golf course manager contacted the police authorized the trapper to take that one alligator and to transfer it – alive – at the department and “ stated that on behalf of The Dunes Country Club , he would like request of the golf course manager , to an alligator farm near Plant City called Alli - these 8 - to 12 - foot alligators removed during the night time , not to raise attention diles Inc . to this process . ” Why would anyone move to Florida and then expect the alligators to leave ? While we certainly do not want all the alligators to be removed from Sanibel and relocated to alligator farms , it was good that this large alligator did not meet imme - THE diate death due to his choice of places to bask in the sun and his refusal to move quickly away from people . It is disheartening that some of the police reports describe alligators who did GROG SHOP move quickly away from people and yet were still given a death sentence . Those alligators were simply doing what they are supposed to be doing . Your One - Stop for “ All of us who live on Sanibel know that crocodilians were on the island long before any of us arrived , and the alligator has an important role to play in the WINE • SPIRITS • LIQUEURS • CIGARS • GIFT ITEMS biota of all of South Florida , ” says John Elting , chairman of Audubon of Florida . “ I applaud the sensitivity of those golf course managers who respect the alligators ’ One of the Best Selections presence and discourage the expediency of those who do not . The same might be fl ipfl o p of Domestic and Imported said of our city council members as they monitor the alligator nuisance program . ” Wines on the West Coast As always , the Committee of the Islands welcomes your ideas and input about California Wines this and other island issues . Visit our website at www.coti.org , or send us your Best Liquor Selection Chardonnay • Pinot Grigio thoughts via email to coti @ coti.org . on the Islands Cabernet • Pinot Noir Special Orders 99 and Case Discounts 750 ml . SALE $ 7 . Walk - in Humidor Smirnoff Vodka 1.75 ltr . 1.75 ltr . SALE $ 21.99 Great Selection Tanqueray Gin 1.75 ml . of Cigars SALE $ 34.99 and Jack Daniel’s Bourbon 1.75 ltr . Accessories Reg . $ 47.99 SALE $ 42.99 No need to leave the island . . . it''s all right here ! Bailey''s Shopping Center ( just right of the hardware store ) Corner of Periwinkle and Tarpon Bay • 472 - 1682 Mon . - Sat . 9 a.m . - 9 p.m . Sun . noon - 7 p.m .

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