West End worries about people feeding alligators

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) The West End of New Orleans is a popular place to get a bite to eat or even bring a picnic lunch. But neighbors there are concerned that too many people are also feeding the alligators.

“Alligators that will come directly up to the dock and expect you to feed them,” Patty Murphy told WGNO News. “They’re not afraid of you. They actually will follow you.”

Murphy and her husband live in the West End and have no issues with most of the alligators. She says it’s the animals’ habitat. But she says too many of the gators are becoming more depending on handouts from people. Other people agree with her.

“One of the fundamental things that you don’t do is you don’t feed alligators,” Jeb Linscombe told WGNO.

Linscombe is the Alligator and Fur Program Manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He says his office handles about 3,000 complaints every year regarding alligators. About 1,000 require trappers to take action.

But despite the widely known dangers of feeding alligators, Louisiana is the only state along the Gulf of Mexico that doesn’t have a law against it. You’re not allowed to harass or hurt alligators, but you can feed them all you like.

Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, all those other states, it’s illegal to feed gators,” Linscombe said.

There could be another reason that more alligators are crossing the paths of people in the West End, and Murphy has an idea to get a new law passed. For more on that, click on the video at the top of this story.

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