Wildife officers need help finding who shot alligator in refuge

By on January 12, 2017

Federal Widlife officials in Dare County began an investigation Nov. 19. (USFWS)

Federal officials are looking for help in finding who was behind the shooting death late last year of an alligator that might have been more than 50 years old.

The carcass was pulled from a canal next to U.S. 64 in November about a mile east of Milltail Road in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service statement said.

Refuge wildlife biologist Becky Harrison said the male alligator was about 11 feet long, weighed about 445 pounds and was radio tagged. Research at Framingham State College indicates an alligator that size could have been more than 50 years old.

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“As ecotherms, or animals whose regulation of body temperature depends on external sources, it’s difficult to estimate exact age because reptile growth is based on length of growing season,” the statement said.

“Northeastern North Carolina represents the most northern part of their range, and the winter season here limits the amount of growing days for resident alligators, resulting in less than 1 inch growth/year. Alligators begin reproducing when they reach 6 feet in size, which may take animals up to 20 years to reach in this area.

Hunting alligators is illegal in North Carolina.

Anyone with information can call the FWS Refuge Tip line (1-844-NWR-TIPS (697-8477) or email NWR_TIPs@fws.gov) or the NCWRC Tip line (1-855-WILDTIP) or visit NCWRC Tips at http://www.ncwildlife.org/wildtip for other reporting options (text, email, etc.).

You can also contact Federal Wildlife Officer Jay Eddy at 252-216-8724 or NC Wildlife Officer Anna Barbosa with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission at 252-947-1510. Information could lead to a reward.

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