Alligators as a Renewable Natural Resource
Since their discovery in Louisiana, alligators have been a great renewable resource for the state. Using their meat as food, their skins for shoes, boots and saddles and their oil for engines, they have always been a part of the Louisiana economy. When the hunting was unregulated, their numbers dwindled to dangerous levels and the alligator was actually listed on the federal Endangered Species Act in 1967. First with the closing of hunting for a decade and then the state regulating the return and adding alligator farmers into the picture, the alligators have flourished since the 1980’s thus protecting this Louisiana natural resource. With the addition in 1986 of alligator farms Louisiana has insured a future of economic value for the state estimated to be around 80 to 90 million dollars annually. Another benefit of this system is that landowners are getting benefits to conserve the wetlands as well as enhancing them in order to increase the alligator population. In turn these increased wetlands provide habitat for birds, fish, fur bearing animals and other wildlife. So after 200 years of harvesting, with the state help and the alligator farmer’s help everyone and every animal benefits in this conservation effort.
The benefits of this natural resource are an economic benefit and incentive for private landowners and alligator hunters who lease the these private lands. In fact about 81 per cent of Louisiana’s coastal alligator habitats are privately owned. These state programs allow private citizens to not only prosper from these resources but to also maintain and protect these natural resources.
For the state’s part they have made detailed scientific study of the alligators, their nests and the results of regulated hunting as well as the introduction of alligator farmers into the picture. Their expertise has made this a successful endeavor for Louisiana, the alligators, the hunters, the farmers, the landowners and the bountiful wildlife.
Thanks to the state’s conservation programs although over 300,000 alligators are harvested each year from farms and wild sources, the alligator population remains constant and is actually increasing slightly. We are a great example through knowledgeable applications and good management, the state of Louisiana’s alligator population is not only stable but is also creating the opportunity for sustainable use of her most valuable renewable natural resource.
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