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13,000 hunters apply for gator permits

NAPLES

6,000 permits issued to hunt gators this year

More than 6,000 permits have been issued to hunt Florida alligators, and some 13,000 hunters have applied for permits that allow a hunter to kill two alligators during hunting season, which began last week.

Florida has more than a million alligators, according to estimates, and they're in all 67 counties.

But hunting them wasn't always allowed.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed them on the endangered species list in 1967, and a decade later they were moved to the threatened list.

But their numbers have recovered in the intervening decades. During last year's hunt, slightly less than 7,000 alligators were killed by hunters with permits.

Some opponents of the hunt say the alligators are critical to the state's ecosystem and shouldn't be hunted.

"Alligators may not be cute in the expected way, they are still a part of Florida's ecosystem (and) in the dry summer months the alligator hole provides water for a variety of other wildlife," said Susan Hargreaves, executive director of Animal Hero Kids, an animal-rights advocacy group.

But state wildlife officials say the hunt is well-managed and sustainable.

Alligators were over-hunted before they were placed on the endangered species list, but that's not the case anymore, said Ron Bergeron, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner.

"Today, alligators are managed with science-based stock assessments so you're hunting a very sustainable population with a given quota so that you have the proper balance," Bergeron said.

orlando

Banker convicted of battery during arrest

A South Florida banker who says he was a victim of excessive force by police was convicted of felony battering and resisting arrest by an Orange County jury.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that a jury of three men and three women convicted 31-year-old Noel Carter after deliberating seven hours. His trial lasted a week.

Jurors acquitted Carter of battery and deadlocked on a resistance-with-violence charge.

Prosecutors portrayed Carter as a belligerent threat; the defense said he was a target of police misconduct.

The officers have been cleared of wrongdoing.

cocoa

Family rescued after boat capsizes

A family of four, including two small children, was rescued after their boat overturned Friday.

According to ABC affiliate WFTV, Cocoa police were called to the Indian River near the Hubert Humphrey Bridge around 10:30 p.m. because of numerous reports that several people were in the water after a boat crash. Police and rescue workers found the family in the water, but initially the 23-month-old girl was missing. The toddler was found unharmed in a pocket of air under the boat. Her life jacket had kept her afloat. The capsizing is still being investigated.

bartow

Man gets 10 years for killing bicyclist

A central Florida man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally striking a bicyclist with his truck and not stopping.

The Ledger of Lakeland reported that 55-year-old Randy Joe Allen was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Authorities say Allen was driving through Auburndale in December 2015 when hit Terry Lamunt Ross, 49, and continued on without stopping. A witness took down the truck's tag number and called 911.

Deputies tracked Allen to a Lakeland bar. Allen told deputies he thought he had hit a stop sign or a guard rail.

Associated Press

13,000 hunters apply for gator permits 08/20/16 [Last modified: Saturday, August 20, 2016 9:21pm]
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