Monday, June 6, 2016


In their recent state convention [See party platform, item #39], it seems the Republican Party favors elimination of protection by the federal government of endangered species.  To me a party which appears to be obsessed with claiming a strong belief in God would want to preserve much of the way the earth was designed by our Supreme Creator. Nature has a delicate balance which could be upset by elimination of various species.

A perfect example of government protection of nature’s beasts is the alligator. 

By the 1960's alligators were disappearing from Texas’ swamps and marshlands.  The only natural enemy of a gator is humans.  Though taking of alligators was unlawful in Texas, enforcement was well-nigh impossible because when caught with a valuable alligator hide, poachers and illegal hunters would simply claim the gator had been taken in another state and its hide simply brought to Texas for sale.  There was really no way to identify the source of an alligator hide or other body parts.

Because of the value of alligators whose meat could be consumed, its hide made into valuable purses, shoes and other items and its teeth taken as a source of ivory, alligators were disappearing at an alarming rate and about to be listed on the federal register as an endangered species.

Because of concern expressed by environmentalists, I, while a member of the Texas House of Representatives, introduced legislation to make it a crime to possess any part of an alligator while in Texas.  The strategy worked and in only a few years alligators had made a spectacular comeback in our Texas estuaries and marshes.

Alligators were really essential to the whole ecology of marshlands because as a part of their propagation female alligators wallow out a large hole in the marsh pushing vegetation into a large pile whereupon they would place their eggs, cover them with other vegetation and allow the decomposition of the vegetation to furnish the heat thereby hatching many new gators.  The process was extremely helpful to the other creatures inhabiting marshlands because in times of drought, alligator holes were often the only source of water for other creatures.

The strategy of the legislation worked so well that in the ‘70's while a member of the Senate, Parks and Wildlife, as well as citizens, prevailed on me to introduce a second alligator measure.  Alligators were becoming so prolific in Southeast Texas that complaints were arising by people who had their pets attacked and eaten in yards which abutted waterways or swamp lands.  Through cooperation with Texas Parks and Wildlife, a bill was devised setting strict regulations whereby alligators could be hunted pursuant to permits in limited seasons.

Because of government intervention, alligators have flourished, wetlands have benefited, hunters have a new and exciting outlet for their efforts and there is even a flourishing industry attached to the hatching, sale and use of alligator parts in our state.

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