Date of this Version
Following protection of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in Texas beginning in 1969, alligator numbers have increased rapidly (Patter 1981). Such population increases led to the federal reclassification of the species from Endangered to Threatened--Similarity of Appearance in 1983 in Texas (Bowman 1983). Similarity of appearance classification acknowledges the biological security of the Texas alligator population and the need for specific harvest controls to ensure that the conservation of similar appearing species is not compromised. As alligator populations recovered, nuisance complaints directed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (T'PWD) accelerated as well. Complaints now number several hundred annually and are especially common from residents is and near the-coastal marshes where the densest alligator populations occur in close proximity to residential and work areas. Other coastal counties report the presence of many semi-tame alligators in natural and man-made impoundments where human visitation and potential for supplemental feeding is frequent. In response to the increasing number of human/alligator conflicts, the TPWD has developed a standard approach to the handling of nuisance alligator complaints. This paper describes the nuisance alligator problem, outlines the steps taken in handling nuisance situations, and discusses considerations for other agencies with alligator management responsibility.