Proposed Rule Supports ‘Gator Conservation Efforts

Highlights

  • California enacted a statewide ban on the import and sale of alligator products that took effect on January 1, 2020.
  • In January 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposed rule that would clarify that states, in which the taking of alligators does not occur, do not have authority to regulate the commerce of alligator products.
  • On March 22, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter supporting the rule proposal. The National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council also commented in support of the rule proposal. 

Why it Matters: California’s statewide prohibition on the import and sale of alligator products threatens to disrupt the market for American alligator products which is critical to supporting conservation efforts for the American alligator and its threatened habitats.

American alligators are a listed species under the Endangered Species Act, but the species is only listed due to its similarity in appearance with threatened crocodilian species. The American alligator population has recovered, and it is a conservation success that the hunting community should continue to celebrate.

If states like California, however, can disrupt the alligator products market, private landowners would be disincentivized from managing habitat to support American alligators. Wetlands, marshes, and associated habitats are some of the most threatened habitats in the country, and the regulated hunting of alligators and the trade of alligator products provides important economic incentives for landowners to conserve habitat that benefits American alligators.

The hunting of American alligators and the trade of alligator products is consistent with the principles of wildlife management and sustainable harvest. Let’s hope the rule is adopted as proposed to add a new chapter to the conservation success story of the ‘gator’.

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Recently, two Montana state representatives have proposed more aggressive legislation addressing the state's gray wolf population. These bills range from the addition of a wolf tag into big game combination tags, to year-round sanctioned harvest without a license, use of snare traps, and private reimbursement of wolf harvest. Currently, the wolf population in Montana sits at 850 wolves, which is 700 over the state’s minimum recovery goal of 150 wolves. Which of the below options for wolf management do you support? (Select all that apply)

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