Tuesday, August 19, 2003

About our inalienable rights…

Just north of Houston is a community named Artesian Lakes. A five foot alligator has recently set up shop there, and his human neighbors are bitching. One gentleman hown on TV’s Channel 13 was complaining that the alligator cramped his style because he could no longer send his grandchildren out to the dock to fish alone.

Well, gee, guess he might have to spend some time with them.

Why is it that people, especially as they build homes and businesses within wildlife habitat, suddenly think that the rest of the natural kingdom has no place? More and more, as we don’t control our populations and out cities continue to expand, we are encroaching on what little wild habitat there is left. We seem to have convinced ourselves that we are such marvels of evolution that if all other wild creatures die out, we’ll still go on.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I understand the community’s fears. Pets and small children are especially vulnerable. But they are more at risk from the two-legged predator called man than they are from alligators, whose presence in south Texas is not only natural but widespread.

Natural predators perform a valuable function in the food chain. If we wipe them all out, we will not be too far behind. If you want to live on a lake, there’s a price. You’ve chosen to live in Gatorland and snake country.

Even if the authorities did decide to relocate the animal, where would they take it? From Conroe to the Woodlands?

The thing for the folks in Atersian Lakes to do know is understand the risk to them and behave in a way that respects it. They might have to modify their behaviors a bit, but they’ll find they gain as much as they lose, if they’re open to seeing it.

The sad truth is most folks are not.