New plan introduced to handle growing alligator population


BAYBORO, Pamlico County - The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission board approved a N.C. Alligator Management plan last week in a meeting in Raleigh.

According to a press release, the plan, which was developed by the N.C. Alligator Task Force, will guide management of alligator populations in the state. The plan outlines conditions under which alligators could be managed. Approval of the plan did not establish an alligator hunting season in the state.

Here in our part of the state, we've been seeing a lot more alligators in our area. One was captured along Hwy. 55 last Sunday and relocated to a new home away from a populated area.

"This is how we transport alligators that we capture," Christopher Kent, biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission said about a long tube that's used to transport the gators. "Basically we started using these tubes because we wanted to prevent the animal from harming itself and thrashing around."

Kent said when they capture a gator, they don't just relocate it.

"We have been tagging them with this little internal pit tag and basically that allows us to use a handheld scanner device and we can scan the animal to see in the future if this is one that we've handled before," Kent said.

Keeping tabs on the gators is important for research on their population. It's one of the goals of the new $1.1 million alligator plan. The research will be used to determine ways to keep the population healthy as well as keep the public informed on safety around these large creatures.

"A lot of people move to this state that aren't from North Carolina or aren't from a state where alligators exist," Kent said. "So they don't understand these animals so education is very important to keep them safe around them."

Kent said if you see an alligator along the road, call animal control and leave it alone. Large crowds gathering can stress the animal, make it attack or prevent the capture and transport of the gator.

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