In Naples, Florida, a man was recently arrested and is now facing felony charges after sheriff deputies discovered an alligator in the man’s son’s bedroom.
NBC2, a local news affiliate, reported on April 5, that a man residing in the South Florida town of Naples was arrested after it was discovered that he had captured and brought home a baby American alligator. The deputies discovered the reptile in the son’s bedroom as the they were carrying out a lawful search of the man’s house following the service of a court issued search warrant.
NBC2 reports that when the man was questioned about the presence of the alligator, he simply replied,
“I didn’t think it was a big deal because there’s millions of them and they said they took them off the endangered species list…”
While it is true that the American alligator is not on what most people refer to as the endangered species list, the American alligator is still afforded certain protections both federally and in the state of Florida. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the American alligator is listed as “similarity of appearance to a a threatened taxon.”
Such a classification affords the American alligator federal protection status but also allows the individual state, in this case, Florida, to manage various control programs. Such control programs, at least in the case of Florida, consist of capture and release policies, research methods, and of course harvesting/hunting policies.
What this all means is that, the Naples man at the heart of this story was in fact partially correct when he stated his belief that alligators are no longer an endangered species. Floridians, are in fact allowed to posses and even hunt/kill alligators. However, in order to lawfully conduct any activity involving the taking of alligators out of the wild, Floridians must possess the requisite state issued permits.
Where the Florida man at hand fell short, was his failure to obtain such a permit. According to NBC2, the only justification the man thought he needed to take the alligator was the fact that he felt he was saving it’s life. According to the Florida resident, he found the baby alligator being attacked by a bird and felt it his duty to rescue the reptile.
“I had no clue. It wasn’t like I was out collecting alligators. I was trying to save an alligator and nurse it back to health and we were going to take it over to the conservancy…”
[Featured Image credit to Mobilite, Body Image credit to #fnewsen]