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11-foot alligator killed at Coleto Creek swimming area

By BY JULIAN CAVAZOS - jcavazos@vicad.com
July 17, 2009 at 2:17 a.m.
Updated July 18, 2009 at 2:18 a.m.

Larry Janik, a nuisance control hunter of El Campo, shot an alligator near a swimming area at Coleto Creek Park on Wednesday.  The alligator was being a nuisance to the swimmers.

COLETO CREEK - A 11-foot, 6-inch American alligator was killed Wednesday after being a nuisance to swimmers at Coleto Creek Park, near Goliad.

The 800-pound alligator was about 40 yards away from nearly a dozen people swimming at the creek, said Larry Janik, the nuisance control hunter from El Campo .

The park called Janik to handle the alligator. He shot it with his rifle.

Killing the alligator was a safer option than moving it somewhere else, said Janik, who also has an alligator farm and incubates baby alligators in El Campo.

"When you've got an 800-pound alligator that's not scared of people, it's more likely to put the problem on somebody else," he said.

Monique Slaughter, a Texas Parks and Wildlife natural resource specialist in Port Arthur, agreed that the alligator needed to be shot.

"If it's a nuisance gator, it's not wise to move it somewhere else because it'll be a problem elsewhere," Slaughter said. "If it's over 6 foot, it's harder to move. It's a lot safer to euthanize them."

Janik said he gets between 400 and 600 nuisance calls a month, with the most being from Brazoria, Matagorda and Fort Bend counties. He handles calls from Galveston down to South Padre Island, he said.

Based on the alligator's size, Slaughter estimated its age was in its late to mid 30s.

No part of the alligator will go to waste, Janik said.

"Its hide will go to a tannery and be used for leather goods, boots, shoes, wallets," he said. "The meat will be processed in restaurants and stores."

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