American Alligator Cycle of
Protection (AACOP) Program
The American Alligator Cycle of Protection (AACOP) Program has the following
* Educate the public about the importance of protecting alligator habitat.
* Make the public aware of available programs and alligator products that
support alligator management and
* Through the cycle of protection program, provide printed materials,
speakers, and educational expos / demos to educate consumers about every aspect
of the alligator industry (farming, trapping manufacturing, etc.).
* Establish alligator education programs that include a sustainable resource
curriculum program for grades K through 12.
* Establish ecological/environmental programs for conservationists.
* Provide alligator public safety education.
* Build a base of value/support for alligator industry and education from the
top end of the industry to the consumer.
The American alligator is the only species from the family Alligatoridae that
is native to the United States.
Alligators are not an endangered species. They were taken off the federal
endangered species list in 1978 and placed on the protected list in all eight
states where they live.
Alligator habitat extends from the southeastern edge of North Carolina to the
southern tip of Texas.
Alligators can live more than 60 years. Females rarely exceed 9 feet in
length, but males can grow much larger. Alligators breed in May-June and their
eggs incubate for 65 days.
Alligators only see out of the sides of their heads and have poor eyesight
but an excellent sense of smell. Three sets of eyelids protect their eyes under
and above the water. Alligators hear with ears located behind their eyes.
Alligators lose their fear of humans by associating human smell with food.
So, remember, don't feed alligators.
Respect the alligator. Do not kill, harass, molest, or attempt to move an
Alligators are most active and feed at night, so don't swim or walk your pets
near the water's edge at dusk or night.
Pay attention to signs, and don't swim outside of posted swimming areas or in
water that might contain large alligators.
There's no place like home, so please don't remove any alligators from their
natural habitat or accept one as a pet.
The Cycle of Protection
Agricultural and urban encroachment continually threatens the long-range
future of the alligator and its habitat. Alligators occupy approximately 9
million acres of wetlands in the southeast United States. The manner in which
this resource is allocated to user groups and the areas where alligators harvest
is permitted influence the degree to which people support wetland conservation.
Educating consumers is essential to the cycle of protection. Each purchase of
an alligator product is an investment in the sustainable use of the alligator
and its habitat. Under a value-added conservation management program,
alligators, which are a natural renewable resource, are providing revenues for
state alligator management and research programs and are encouraging private
landowners to maintain alligator habitat in a natural and productive state.
Products include leather articles and alligator meat. Alligator hides are
used to produce beautiful and unique shoes, briefcases, belts, wallets, and
handbags. Alligator meat tastes good, and it's good for you because it's low in
fat and cholesterol and high in protein and minerals. Every time you buy or eat
an alligator product, you help protect alligators by making them a valuable
resource whose habitat and lifestyle should be protected.
Some of the programs in the eight states where alligators live include:
* Nuisance alligator control
* Private lands alligator management
* Statewide alligator harvest on state waters
* Alligator farming
* Alligator egg and hatchling programs
Alligator management programs try to establish a variety of user groups with
varying economic ties to the resource. These user groups include:
* Alligator trappers
* Meat processors
* Private landowners with extensive wetland holdings
* Alligator farmers / ranchers
People who live near alligators are the crucial element of long-range
conservation programs for alligators and their habitat.