The population rebound of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis; hereafter, alligator), with the rapid growth of populations throughout its range, has caused an influx of human–alligator conflicts. We quantified 5,838 nuisance alligator reports from 2000 to 2011 to develop more site-specific strategies of management and to determine where management should be focused to minimize the conflict. We also surveyed the general public’s attitude toward and knowledge of alligators (n = 98) as a technique to better understand human dimensions of nuisance alligator management in Texas. Counties that received the largest numbers of nuisance alligator reports were Jefferson (16%), Fort Bend (14%), Matagorda (11%), Brazoria (10%), Harris (7%), Jackson (5%), Orange (5%), Chambers (5%), Calhoun (5%), and Liberty (3%) counties. We found that of the nuisance alligators reported, 45% were male, 18% were female, and 38% were reported as unknown. Most residential situations occurred in Fort Bend County, while more roadway and worksite situations occurred in Jefferson County, and more livestock depredation occurred in Matagorda County. Conflict resolution differed by alligator size. Most (41%) alligators 1.5 m in length were removed through lethal means. Most (93%) survey responders would support an alligator removal program that conducted capture and relocation, but they were unwilling to have alligators relocated near their homes. Only 15% of survey responders would support an alligator management program that utilized lethal removal. Visitors with more education (bachelor’s degree or higher) were more willing to support lethal control of alligators. We determined that survey responders had some knowledge of alligators and that an alligator educational program targeted to residents of the northern Texas Gulf Coast could help reduce the number of human–alligator conflicts.
Eversol, Cord B.; Henke, Scott E.; Ogdee, Jacob L.; Wester, David B.; and Cooper, Amos
"Nuisance American alligators: an investigation into trends and public opinion,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 8
, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol8/iss1/2