South Slidell residents say gator sightings are way up
SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - People who live in the neighborhoods south of Slidell say nuisance alligator sightings are on the way up.
They say some neighborhood pets are disappearing, and they worry things could get worse.
In the waterfront communities south of Slidell - like Eden Isles, Clipper, and Lakeshore Estates - gators are the talk of the neighborhood.
"There are gator sightings all the time in every canal," said resident Debbie Marquez.
Residents say alligators ranging in size from 4 to 8 feet are being spotted more often than ever this summer.
"Two weeks ago I was in the pool with my grandkids and saw an 8-footer cruising down the canal," said resident Jay Jenkins.
Jenkins took video of one reptile as it fearlessly sat beneath his boat.
"I don't know what you're doing there, but I would rather you be somewhere else," said Jenkins on the tape.
There are reports of at least one dog being grabbed by a gator, and other wildlife doesn't seem as plentiful as it used to be.
"The ducks slowly disappear," said Marquez.
Some of the gators have wound up in resident's pools and backyards.
"We visited the gator farm. They say they don't like humans, but these gators, aren't afraid of you at all," said Jenkins.
Many complain that the parish isn't set up to deal with their nuisance gator problem like it once was.
"We used to have a guy we could call out. He was in the streets relocating the gators, which was a huge relief for us," said Marquez.
The St. Tammany Sheriff's Office confirms that as of last week, longtime gator enforcement officer Howard Mcrae is no longer with the department. Now they advise residents with gator concerns to call the State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
"I would like to see them do more because they are in the canal and they are a hazard to humans," said Jenkins.
Jim Langendonk, the head of the Clipper Estates Neighborhood Association, hopes these nuisance gators don't get out of hand.
"I would like to see them respond quicker when we report one," he said.
Meantime, he'll keep a lookout and the dogs close.
State wildlife officials say if you hear a gator hiss, run away immediately and give them a call. They say that's the definition of a nuisance gator.
While the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office says it remains ready to deal with nuisance gators, they advise concerned residents to call the department of wildlife and fisheries first at 225-765-2811.
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