On Tuesday morning, a 69-year-old woman in South Carolina was killed by a 10-foot alligator, who then guarded her mutilated body, hindering rescue efforts.
Marking the second fatal alligator attack in Beaufort County in less than one year, an unidentified woman was walking her dog when she was suddenly attacked by a large alligator on Hilton Head Island.
According to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a report of a possible alligator attack at a lagoon near the Spanish Wells Golf Club around 9:38 a.m. on Tuesday. When they arrived, they found the body of the victim being guarded by the alligator at the edge of the lagoon.
“Rescue efforts were made and an alligator appeared and was guarding the woman, interrupting emergency efforts,” reported the sheriff’s office. “The gator was safely removed from the area and the woman’s body was recovered.”
After its removal from the scene, the responsible alligator was euthanized.
The victim’s dog was found safe, according to a sheriff’s office spokesperson.
In August 2022, 88-year-old Nancy Ann Jackson Becker was also attacked in Sun City Hilton Head just outside her home. This was the fourth alligator attack in the county in less than 11 weeks.
In February 2023, an 85-year-old woman in Florida named Gloria Serge was killed in an alligator attack while walking her dog in the Spanish Lakes Fairways retirement community in Fort Pierce, Florida.
This tragic incident was captured by a wildlife camera set up on the property.
According to the NIH, alligator attacks are increasing as the human population increases and encroaches on their natural habitats.
In South Carolina, the human population has increased by nearly 30 percent in the last two decades. Between 1990 and 2010, the Beaufort County population specifically increased by 88 percent. Since 2010, it has experienced a population growth of 24 percent.
Frank Robb, a well-known “gator trapper” in Florida, spoke to Fox35 about the increasing human population and its effect on the alligator population.
“The more Florida expands, the more people we get into Florida, the more people we keep jamming down here, we’re building on a lot of areas that are surrounding marsh areas and wild areas,” Robb said.
“Conflict like this is becoming more common, but that’s not the alligator’s fault,” he added. “The alligator doesn’t want to be doing this, and of course, people don’t want that type of interaction.”