News Release: U.S. fish & Wildlife Service
July 25, 2014
Folkston, Ga.- As the summer continues and visitors are boating, canoeing/kayaking, and fishing in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, refuge officials have noticed a dramatic increase in human/alligator interactions, primarily associated with fishing activity at the Suwannee River Sill, near Fargo. These types of interactions can be dangerous to humans and may be detrimental to alligators. Okefenokee NWR is home to approximately 12,000 alligators, and the vast prairies and waterways of the swamp provide
optimal habitat for these curious and magnificent creatures. In order to promote a safe and enjoyable visit, we ask refuge visitors to remember the following guidelines regarding alligator safety.
This summer, the refuge has had to remove/relocate several alligators that had become “nuisance” alligators. When this happens, the refuge contacts specially trained Nuisance Alligator Agent Trapper, Jackie Carter, who is licensed with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to remove “nuisance” alligators. “If you see someone getting too close to an alligator or feeding it, please report them to refuge staff as soon as possible,” asks Jackie Carter. “Alligators are curious and opportunistic; don’t put yourself and others in a bad situation.” Okefenokee is requesting that if you are visiting the refuge and witness someone feeding or harassing an alligator, contact refuge personnel immediately or call the DNR hotline at 1-800-241-4113.