Dead alligators not poached, DNR says

Paddler Shanon Stroer passes the carcass of an alligator on the Ashley River last weekend.

Five alligators found with heads and tails cut off weren’t illegally poached, state wildlife officers say. They were illegally dumped.

The people involved in the incident turned themselves in to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, said First Sgt. Lee Ellis on Tuesday, after The Post and Courier and other media reported the discovery the dead alligators floating in the Ashley River along the Plantation District bank last weekend.

They have been charged with dumping the animal carcasses, will have to remove the carcasses and do community service, Ellis said. He did not immediately provide the identities or the arrest report.

The gators were legally killed in Berkeley County under a private land removal permit, Ellis said. The people involved brought the animal bodies back to a private home on the river, took the trophy heads and tail meat, then put the remaining carcasses in the river, thinking they would sink, Ellis said.

More than 100,000 alligators are estimated to live in the state, but hard numbers are difficult to come by. Some critics say the state hunt in the fall of each year is depleting the breed stock of larger alligators. More than 2,000 alligators legally are killed each year among the hunt, nuisance and private land removals.

The alligators discovered last weekend were estimated to be adults, from about 4 feet to 8 or 10 feet long.

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