Environment: Getting 'Gator Getters

" 'Gator killin' " is as time honored a pastime in the swamps of Louisiana, South Georgia and Florida as moonshining is in the hills to the north. The beasts are supposed to be protected by the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969, but in the three years since then, federal officials estimate, some 127,000 alligators have been slaughtered by poachers.

The poachers can sell their prey for about $6 per foot, but they do not get them without a struggle. Poaching must be done at night—partly to avoid agents and partly to catch...

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