Ruth M. Elsey

Preliminary Analysis of Survival of Farm-released Alligators in Southwest Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries regulates an experimental alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) egg collection program which requires the return of a portion of juvenile alligators to ensure recruitment and maintain populations. An extensive tag and release program of farm-released juvenile alligators was evaluated by analysis of later harvest of recaptured sub-adult and adult alligators. Results suggest fairly high survival rates of farm-released alligators. The minimum known alive method estimated survival to be 85.3% to 4 years post-release.

The Effects of Wildfires on Alligator Nests on Rockefeller Refuge

Environmental factors such as flooding, drought, and predation can adversely affect alligator nesting success. No prior studies have documented the effects of wildfires on alligator nesting ecology. In July 1995, wildfires burned over 1,300 ha of alligator nesting habitat on Rockefeller Refuge in southern Louisiana. Although most alligator eggs from nests in the burned area had previously been removed by staff biologists, the burned area was searched to evaluate fire damage to remaining nests and eggs. Twentynine (46.0%) of 63 nests located were not damaged by the wildfires, due probably...

Food Habits of Native Wild and Farm-released Juvenile Alligators

Stomach contents of 108 juvenile alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) were analyzed to determine if alligators hatched and raised in captivity (until 120-cm size) then released to the wild would be capable of foraging successfully for food. Seventyeight farm-reared, post-released alligators harvested during the 1991 annual alligator hunt on Marsh Island Wildlife Refuge and 30 native wild alligators harvested of similar size class were selected and stomach contents compared. Crustaceans were the most important prey item among all alligators, with blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) being...