Are alligators endangered? Find out in this World Book Explains video. Presented by Greg Grandy, Coastal Resources Scientist, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.
Alligators were once common in lakes, swamps, and rivers along the Gulf of Mexico and on the Atlantic Coast as far north as North Carolina. They were also found far up the Mississippi River. But so many were killed for their hides or for food and sport that they became scarce. In 1967, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classified the alligator as an endangered species. This designation gave the animal almost complete protection. But by 1977, alligator populations had increased so much in Florida and other southern coastal regions that the animals were reclassified as threatened. This new classification permits tightly regulated hunting of alligators, for commercial purposes.
Protecting crocodiles. Crocodiles have been widely hunted for their hides, which manufacturers make into leather for shoes and handbags. Such hunting has caused three species--the American crocodile, Cuban crocodile, and Nile crocodile--to become endangered species. Laws now forbid crocodile hunting in many parts of the world, but these restrictions are difficult to enforce. Biologists in some areas have begun programs to collect crocodile eggs and hatch them in incubators. The baby crocodiles are then released into the wild.
This information is from The World Book Encyclopedia.
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