Environmental talk: UNO Documentary on…Gators

What: A documentary about Alligators in New Orleans.

Film By: UNO student and filmmaker Jeffery Chatagnier

Editor’s Note: NolaVie partners with students of UNO professor László Zsolt Fülöp, pairing them with artists, non-profits, environmental groups, and cultural entities to facilitate a live curriculum, that results in a short documentary. This short film is by Jeffery Chatagnier, a film student at The University of New Orleans, School of Arts.

Video Transcription

When you hear the term “Sportsman’s Paradise,” you probably think of the hunters and fishermen of Louisiana, but nature has its own sportsman that has been here far longer.

With a top speed of 25 miles per hour underwater and 35 miles per hour on land, alligators can speed in most school zones. There are more than 2 million wild alligators in Louisiana and another million living on farms. In Louisiana, alligators typically hatch at eight or nine inches long, and if they are female, they can grow to 9 feet or 13 feet; if they are male, they have an average lifespan of 70 years in the wild.

Until 1962, there were no regulations on alligator hunting in the state. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries estimates that from 1880 to 1933, 3.5 million alligators were killed. The state recognized the need for alligators as predators in the ecosystem and the need Louisiana residents have for them as well. Alligators consume muskrats that can destroy levees and cause flooding. In response to the overharvesting, alligator hunting was banned from 1962 to 1972. Fifty years ago, their population was as low as a hundred thousand; now, they are thriving.

The bite of an alligator exerts a force of roughly 2,125 PSI; that’s sure to ruin your day. The popularity of alligators remains a massive revenue source for the state of Louisiana. In 2019, it was estimated that 86 million dollars in alligators were harvested. Alligator watching is even more valuable, with an estimated 245 million people coming in annually. In the future, it will be important to monitor hunting and pollution levels to make sure that Louisiana’s favorite dinosaur does not go the way of its ancestors.

This piece was transcribed by Kate Sullivan. 

This piece was edited by Rafael De Alba as part of Professor Kelley Crawford’s Digital Civic Engagement course at Tulane University. 


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