RALEIGH — Alligators in North Carolina were granted a reprieve… for a little while anyway.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, heeding the advice of scientists, decided today not to allow an alligator hunting season this year.
Instead, the commission, which sets hunting and freshwater fishing regulations, will establish a task force that will evaluate the available biological information on alligators in North Carolina and identify any research gaps. The group will also identify areas along the coast that might be “overpopulated” with alligators and provide recommendations on possible future hunting regulations.
The commission had proposed a one-month hunt that would allow permit holders to kill one alligator. Scientists warned that not enough is known about the diversity and stability of alligator populations in the state to know whether a hunting season is sustainable.
Commission members, in approving a resolution not to allow a hunting season, noted that they were swayed by that advice and also by public opposition. More than 40 percent of the comments that the commission received were opposed to the proposal. That opposition included scientific groups devoted to the study of reptiles and major conservation groups, such as the N.C. Wildlife Federation and the N.C. Nature Conservancy.