Signs of spring – balmy weather, blooming flowers and nesting birds – are occurring throughout Florida. [Read more…] about Tips to safely co-exist with alligators
FWC provides tips for living with alligators
The American alligator is a conservation success story. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size. They are an important part of Florida’s wetlands, but should be regarded with caution and respect.
Alligators become more active and visible during spring when temperatures rise and their metabolism increases. Although serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when having fun in and around the water. Alligators inhabit all 67 counties in Florida and can be found anywhere there is standing water. Reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators by swimming only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Also keep pets on a leash and away from the water.
Because alligators control their body temperature by basking in the sun, they may be easily observed. However, the FWC urges people to keep their distance if they see one. And never feed alligators because it is dangerous and illegal.
The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program to address complaints concerning specific alligators. People concerned about an alligator should call the FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286). SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators 4 feet in length or greater that are believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property. The FWC also works diligently to keep Floridians and visitors informed, including providing advice about Living with Alligators.
Learn more about alligators at MyFWC.com/Alligator.
Nine Arrested for Illegal Harvesting of Alligators and Eggs
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission today announced nine arrests for illegally harvesting alligators and eggs. Authorities have uncovered more than 10,000 illegally harvested American alligator eggs.
“This massive criminal operation dealing in American alligators and their eggs undermines legitimate farmers operating legally,” said Attorney General Bondi. “I want to thank the FWC for their superb investigative work and look forward to my Office of Statewide Prosecution prosecuting those involved in this reckless illegal operation.”
The arrests follow a comprehensive investigation into the unlawful commercialization of alligators through alligator farms. As part of the investigation, FWC established an undercover alligator farming business, Sunshine Alligator Farm, in Arcadia. The investigation revealed that substantial numbers of illegally taken wild alligators and eggs were being removed from the wild and laundered through certain alligator farms. Some of the defendants took undercover officers on alligator hunts and illegally caught and sold alligators.
Authorities arrested the following defendants in connection to this case:
- Robert Albritton, 36, Arcadia;
- Robert Beasley; 38, Arcadia;
- Christopher Briscall, 22, Fort Denaud;
- Jacob Bustin-Pitts, 23, Fort Denaud;
- Matthew Evors, 24, Fort Denaud;
- David Nellis, 73, Punta Gorda;
- Wayne Nichols, 42, Arcadia;
- Carl Wayne Pickle Jr., 47, Arcadia; and
- Isaiah Romano, 22, Fort Denaud.
All nine of the defendants face charges for the illegal killing, possessing or capturing of alligators or eggs. The defendants face a range of additional serious charges including racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, scheme to defraud, conspiracy to deal in stolen property and the intentional killing or wounding of any species of special concern.
The investigation is still ongoing and additional arrests are expected.