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Alligator hunting allowed again in Alabama

Alligator hunting season has begun in the southern states where these massive reptiles dwell, but some are concerned about their status as a protected species and worry about how the hunting is affecting it, WSFA News reports.

The American Alligator was popularly hunted until 1938, when Alabama was the first state to protect the dwindling population. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed them on the Endangered Species list in 1967, but they were removed in 1987 after the population had grown again. They were kept as a federally protected species.

The recently-introduced hunting seasons are evidence that the gator numbers are back up to what Alabama state wildlife officials call "nuisance levels." According to The Sun News, nuisance alligators are those that show up in places they shouldn't be - like in roads, yards and cities.

Alligator hunting season was reintroduced in South Carolina for the first time in nearly 40 years in 2008 and has been incredible popular, though legally controlled, the news source reports. The state has 1,200 permits available for gator hunting, and received about 6,400 applications this year. Wildlife officials say that it should help control the population but will continue to review numbers to prevent endangering the species.
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