Florida to Discuss Alligator Management

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will discuss results of a recent online survey concerning public attitudes about alligator management when the FWC meets at Key Largo Dec. 6-7.

Although no rule changes are on the table, the survey revealed that some Floridians would like to see more flexibility in alligator hunting and nuisance alligator removal. Currently, alligator hunting opportunities are limited, and nuisance alligator removal requires a state-permitted trapper.

Florida classifies alligators as a species of special concern, but some survey responses called for removing them from the state's imperiled species list and reclassifying them as game animals since the species is in no danger of extinction. Scientists estimate Florida's wild alligator population comprises more than 1 million animals.

Commissioners also will consider comments from survey respondents who said alligators should have greater protection or the same level of protection and management currently in place in Florida.

If Commissioners direct staff to move forward with any of the public comments, the process will require numerous public hearings and scientific scrutiny to determine what the new regulations, if any, should be. The process could span a minimum of two years and possibly five or more.