The true encroacher, human or alligator?

licies. By understanding their natural history, hunting was moved to a time of year that does not affect breeding.

After alligator populations increased across the southeast, monitored hunting seasons were allowed. These hunting seasons have not harmed robust population levels. A portion of the proceeds from the hunting permits fund scientific research on this animal. As hunting grew in popularity and as leather and meat market prices increased, many saw a potential business. The development of alligator farming was the result.

Scott's group has recently carried out a nutritional study related to farming alligators. His group has explored what diet will allow alligators to grow out to maximum length and produce the most leather and meat.

Scott found that Vitamin E and Vitamin B1 (thiamine) had distinct effects on alligators' growth. In fact, some diseases are attributed to a lack of these vitamins, and death can occur if those vitamins are absent.

"It appears that alligators may actually stop growth permanently if they have no access to these elements early in life," Scott said. "Even if supplements are added after the fact, they may not respond to it at all.

"Alligators have been here for almost 200 million years," Scott said. "Their range overlaps with human beings. I hope we can learn to live with them."


Contact: Sherylon Carroll
Texas A&M University

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