Florida New Day, Mark Renz 1-239-368-3252

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Translated by Mark Renz

El Garto Interview

So, Mr. El Garto...Do you have any comments about The Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge's proposal to allow hunting as an additional public use activity?

Did you say "refuge"?

Yes sir.

I'm confused. I don't speak much human but I thought the definition of a refuge was to protect we non-human residents.

Yes sir, but from time to time, we find it necessary to tweak that definition.

Necessary? Necessary for what?

Well...you know how we uprighters are...We have lots of testosterone and like to entertain ourselves by hunting some of your largest kin.

Oh, of course. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm actually a big fan of some of your games.

Yeah, which ones?

For starters, the one where you drain the swamp and cut down all the trees...that's one of my favorites. Especially the part where you fill everything in again and build roads, houses, condos and hotels and send the rest of us packing.

You're being sarcastic.

No, no, I mean it...I really like that game. But tell me about this new one you're planning in the refuge. How does it work?

Well...we first have to hook you with a harpoon tied to a rope. Then we hold on while you fight for your life. Finally, when we're sure you've got no energy left, we finish the job with a bang-stick loaded with a shotgun shell or sharp spear.

Cool! I've always wanted to feel the thrill of being stalked in my own home, hooked in the jaw and shot in the head! Sure you don't want to tie me up too?

No, that won't be necessary. Once you're dead, we'll drag your body into the boat and take you to shore.

How thoughtful of you! Then what?

We'll make sure none of you goes to waste. We'll eat your tail and make leather products out of your hide.


So you approve?

Of course. But I have one question...

What's that?

Can we make this game a little more sporting?

What do you have in mind?

I propose that each alligator hunter be required to enter the swamp naked, track us down at night with no flashlight--minimum size 10 feet in length--and then try to kill us with their bare hands. Winner takes all!

What are you, some kind of animal rights extremist?

No, I'm a gator with a brain the size of a thimble, which I would argue is more productive than that coconut sitting on your shoulders.

This interview is over.

Aw, I'm just kidding. Go on with your hunt. I think it's a noble idea.


Looks like your side lost Mr. El Garto. Are you disappointed?

Disappointed that 22 of my brethren will be popped by a bunch of testosterone-crazed loonies looking for some wild nighttime recreation? Why should that bother me?

Here comes the sarcasm again. What have you got against we up-righters having a little fun?

OMG, I forgot that's what it's all about! You're absolutely right and I hope you will forgive my incredulity. It's just that I keep hoping your kind will find more gentle ways to interact with your co-inhabitants.

But Loxahatchee Refuge managers noted in their "finding of no significant impact" report that limited alligator hunting is an acceptable form of wildlife-oriented public recreation and that limited gator hunts would not hurt the refuge's alligator population.

Look, obviously we gators are not given a choice in this matter. But just for a moment, try to look at this from our perspective. It's one thing when you humans hunt us animals for food. We don't like it, but we accept that you gotta eat and well...hey, we're not exactly vegetarians, you know.

Go on...

But the stalking, terrorizing and taking of another animal's life for recreation rather than necessity does not speak well of a species that lays claim to a higher, compassionate intelligence. Doesn't what I'm saying mean anything to you?

No, I'm afraid not.

And that's been my point all along.