Alligator

Louisiana alligator hunters got a little help from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries this past week.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a notice of intent to reduce the LDWF alligator hide tag fee from $4 to $3 for the 2020 and 2021 calendar years.

This approval came during a Aug. 1 meeting in New Orleans.

The reduction was in response to a request from the Louisiana Alligator Farmers and Ranchers Association as it seeks to fund efforts in support of the state's alligator industry.

Right now, a $4 fee is collected by LDWF for each gator hide shipped out of state. Each $1 gained from the tag reduction will be directed by industry participants to efforts to keep the alligator market secure and competitive in the future.

“This is an opportunity for LDWF to support an industry that is a vital part of the Louisiana economy,’’ said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet, a former alligator farmer. “They’re not asking to reduce the tag fee permanently, only for two years. This will provide the alligator industry with the resources needed to make sure they are able to continue to do business globally.’’

Alligator population in Lousiana continues to thrive since the 1960s and 70s.

In those days, the species were highly threatened. At one point, population numbers were as low as 100,000 in Louisiana, per data collected in 1963.

But today, alligator population in Louisiana wild is around 2 million and there are about 300,000 more on alligator farms in the state.

The resurgence has allowed the reptile to be removed from the Endangered Species List since 1987.

LDWF said the reason for the comeback is its sustainable use Marsh to Market program, which is still in existence today.

When consumers buy alligator products, they are helping the species to flourish in Louisiana because a lot of the money derived from purchasing alligator products goes back into the LDWF alligator program, which benefits the animal and its habitat.

To see the full NOI, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

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