American Alligator Cycle of Protection (AACOP) Program    
 

 

The American Alligator Cycle of Protection (AACOP) Program has the following goals:
 

* 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 habitat protection.
 

* 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.
 

Gator Facts
 

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.
 

Safety Tips
 

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 alligator.
 

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
 

Habitat
 

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.
 

Consumers
 

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
 

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.
 

Programs
 

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.

 

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