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Water-Related News

Can one volunteer make a difference? You bet... Bob Luce does!

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By Gail Diederich

Hillsborough River as garbage dump — who cares? This retiree does

TAMPA – Bob Luce was fishing trash from the Hillsborough River when he spotted the young alligator basking in the sun, its toothy "smile" showing a fishing lure hooked in its lower lip. With deep passion for both the river and its inhabitants, Luce felt compelled to help.

After a few days of trying, Luce, who has a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for rescuing wildlife, used a long pole with a loop and snared the alligator. Rolling the reptile to one side, keeping the animal off-balance, Luce guided the gator to his kayak. The lure became unhooked almost unassisted.

And, with a camera in one hand, the other on the pole guiding the alligator back into the river, Luce captured the release on video, his gentle voice encouraging the creature to slide away.

The gator was not the first — or the last, including humans — to benefit from Luce's concern for the Hillsborough River.

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Watch videos Bob has made on the river