The American alligator, once close to extinction, is now a jaw-dropping story of success in the endangered animal world. A species, scientists say, as old as dinosaurs, alligators have been long prized for their hide and meat or feared for their quick bite, causing many to be killed and the population to get dangerously close to extinction.
Hunted for centuries, these reptiles were rapidly disappearing before strict regulations were put in place with the Endangered Species Act to protect the remaining alligators in the 1970’s. Management plans also began to help increase the number of wild alligators. Alligator farms began to raise the reptiles for consumption and hide so that alligators were not killed in the wild. Additionally these farms were required to place a specific number of mature alligators back into their natural habitat. With these improvements, the alligator population has once again increased in the Lowcountry of South Carolina as well as Florida and Louisiana.