Releasing Alligators Back into The WildBelieve it or not, the Louisiana Alligator Program of Protection is arguably the best conservation program for any animal on earth. In the late 1950s, the wild alligator population in Louisiana had declined to unacceptably low numbers of about 150,000. In response to the rapid decline, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LWL&F) began scientific studies to understand the American Alligator and its plight to survive.

By the 1970s, after nearly 20 years of aggressive study of the American Alligator, the LWL&F had formulated a plan to dramatically increase this protected species’ population. However, one large problem they faced was no funding or financial support on the horizon.

The Re-Opening of The Wild Alligator Harvesting Program

The solution was the re-opening in 1978 of the wild alligator harvesting program, which had been closed since 1963 to protect the species. This re-opening was not seen as a necessity to control the wild alligator population but as a funding source to implement this amazing program of protection.

Strangely, it was determined that this species could only be protected through hunting and reduction of the population. An income source was created by charging for licenses to hunt and additional fees to support this protection program. The successful accumulation of funds continued, and in the mid 80’s, the LWL&F began the alligator ranching program of protection, and the “Alligator Ranching Industry” was born.

What Is the Alligator Ranching Program?

baby alligator hatching from eggThis program allows Ranchers to harvest eggs out of the marsh, with the understanding that 17% of those alligators hatched must be returned to the marsh once they reach an average size of 4 feet. The program’s continued success has so dramatically increased the population, that through the years, the alligator return rate has been reduced substantially.

The program has become recognized worldwide as the “Sustainable Use” Story and possibly the most successful protection program for any animal in the world. The basic philosophy, ranchers, harvest all the alligator eggs that can be found in the marshes of Louisiana. They incubate, hatch, and raise those alligators to an average size of four feet. Then they return more 4 footers to the marshes of Louisiana than Mother Nature has allowed to survive prior to man’s involvement.

Astonishing Facts

If you’re looking for a way to support this amazing program of protection, consider purchasing some of our alligator leather products available at our shop. To learn more about our gators and services, please contact us today with any questions you may have!

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