Richard Nixie, a thirty-year-old Florida man, was busted on February 1 for the alleged killing of five alligators in preparation for a feast to market the Super Bowl. Florida wildlife officials said that Nixie had captured the gators despite not having a state-mandated trapping license and harvesting tag. Each of the scaly reptiles measured less than five feet long. American alligators are considered a threatened species in the wild, even while their commercial production has been growing significantly in recent years.
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Greg Workman said, "No one should have possession of a Florida alligator unless they are a state nuisance-alligator trapper."
"It's not just a free-for-all," added Workman.
The hungry Florida man has been released from the Volusia County Branch Jail on $500 bail. Nixie will appear before a judge to defend his action on March 3. Florida officials contend that Nixie admitted to catching the gators, possibly in the nearby St John’s River.
In a WFTV news report, one observer theorized that Nixie was caught with the edible tails rather than complete alligator carcasses. Laura Pucaro, a neighbor in Nixie’s trailer-park neighborhood, said "I mean, the gators used to be endangered and there's tons of them all over the place now. It's almost like doing a favor. He's just going to eat them."
Nixie was released from Volusia County Jail after posting a $500 bond. He's scheduled to appear in court March 3.
Hunting alligators was long banned in states like Florida and Louisiana where the dangerous reptiles are natives. Decades of a ban on hunting resulted in a renaissance in the numbers of alligators across the Deep South. Limited hunting is now permitted, even while suburban homeowners are frequently assailed with unwanted visits by alligators and have lost their pets to the reptiles’ maws.
According to a University of Florida study, alligators reach a marketable size at 6 to 7 feet. Florida, Louisiana, and Texas produce thousands of hides for the commercial trade.
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