Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

October 1997


Published in Proceedings of the Eighth Eastern Wildlife Damage Management Conference, Roanoke, Virginia, October 16–19, 1997, edited by James A. Parkhurst. Copyright © 1997 by the authors.


American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) conservation is necessary given the animal's role in wetland ecosystems and its economic value. Although the alligator appears to be no longer threatened with extinction, the reptile’s perceived reputation and a burgeoning human population combine to create a management paradox. Alligator management in South Carolina consists of a Nuisance Control Program, a Private Lands Harvest Program, and public education. Annually, over 750 alligator complaints are received by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), and harvest averages about 250 animals. To address alligator/human interaction in rural habitats, a harvest on private lands was established in 1995. The program, which has been well received by the public, encompasses over 27,000 acres in 7 counties and is valued over $75,000. Brochures, presentations, and the media have been utilized effectively to educate the public about alligators. A holistic approach is suggested for successful conservation of a species that has mixed attributes.