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The U.S. Fish and and Wildlife officials are contemplating allowing alligator hunting in a federal wildlife refuge in 2014; although they may go ahead with their plans as early August, 2013, even without assessment of cumulative impacts on the ecosystem.
The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge a delicate and threatened ecosystem in the northernmost part of the Everglades in Florida- where the alligator is a keystone species of the park.
Once before, the alligator was hunted to near extinction. It was listed as an endangered species in 1967 under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and removed from the list of endangered species in 1987 when populations improved. A wildlife refuge may have been one of the reasons the alligator was able to rebound.
Even though the alligator population seems to be thriving- it faces new threats, and it's future is uncertian. They face a threat from the invasive Burmese python. While the alligator was once the apex predator in the Everglades, now they have competition for food supply. Also, the Burmese python has been known to eat juvenile gators.
We ask the Fish and Wildlife Service not to permit alligator hunting in a wildlife refuge, and allow it to continue to be a sanctuary for the American alligator.
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