Posted by Kerry Grissett on May 22, 2002 at 23:21:47:
As WAFF channel 48 reported, yes, there are gators and they have been there for a long time. The popular myth is that they were introduced in the early 1970's to control the beaver population, but this is NOT true.
There has been a documented population of gators in the Mooresville/Wheeler refuge area since at least 1900. Probably they were there long before that. This is the northern extent of their range. The gators that were brought in in the 1970's were to try to help a natural population of a federally protected species to survive.
When I moved to Decatur I was at first incredulous about the talk of gators in these waters, but I soon saw them for myself.
I sincerely hope that the area does not become a popular tourist attraction to see the gators, as I fear this will inevitably be detremental not only for the gators, but also to the other wildlife and fishes in the area. The higher traffic will mean more garbage/trash left behind, and that is already a BIG problem! And, of course, there are always the stupid people who think the only good gator or snake is a dead gator or snake. These folks are either really ignorant or profoundly stupid!
Remember, ignorance is often curable through education. Unfortunately, stupidity is a life long disease.
Good luck and good fishin' and leave the snakes and gators alone!
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