In awe of the crocodile and her people
To the editor,
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, our one and only crocodile was found dead on East River trail on the Sanibel River at SCCF. In her 25 years-plus on Sanibel, she helped define our community as one dedicated to living with wildlife – even the big, beautiful, scary ones.
The community overcame fears and put up with inconveniences as this fascinating endangered reptile basked and nested in their neighborhoods and back yards. The residents of Gulf Pines, Gulf Shores, Sanibel Bayous, Chateaux Sur Mer and the homes along the Rabbit Road Lakes have all watched over her through the years.
This past summer, the City of Sanibel and our police force erected a fence to protect her nest from people walking near. The realtor with the “open house” next door worried who would buy a house with a croc. This neighborhood watched in awe as she fought with alligators – and won!
“Croc Sitters” protected her for years from all those humans that crowded around her in the refuge and worried she would get hit by a car crossing Sanibel-Captiva Road when she left the refuge. She moved freely through the island using the Sanibel River as her highway, navigating to the next deep water lake with the most fish, until she came to rest on the preserved lands of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.
To have been the one who found her is bittersweet.
We have Sanibel stories that tell of the wonder of animals that seek out the ones who protect them. For years, the croc rested nightly during nesting season at the end of the driveway of the two people who loved her being there. When SCCF placed nesting boxes to bring barn owls back to the island, the only place they nested were at CROW, SCCF, the refuge and the home of the individual who began the program. How do they know?
Where else but Sanibel and Captiva would these stories be told? It is what continues to makes us unique as a community. We work hard to keep the wild ones safe, so we feel blessed at SCCF to be the final resting place of this gorgeous creature and will mark her spot in commemoration.
She made us all more human.
SCCF Living With Wildlife Educator