Huntsville officials and wildlife experts report alligator sightings

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FILE – In this Monday, May 2, 2016 file photo, Two alligators lounge on the end of the 16th green during the final round of the PGA Zurich Classic golf tournament at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La. A federal judge in California has temporarily blocked a California law banning the import and sale of alligator and crocodile products and has scheduled an April hearing on Louisiana’s lawsuit against the law. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 that it’s a first step toward protecting the state alligator industry. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – An uptick in alligator sightings in the southern and western areas of Huntsville have caused officials and wildlife experts to speak out on how to observe the creatures safely.

“We are sharing our homes with each other and should recognize that they were there first,” said Huntsville City Council President Jennie Robinson. “We need to respect the alligators in their habitat as a protected species and use caution.”

In a post on the City of Huntsville blog, Huntsville Animal Services (HAS) Director Dr. Karen Sheppard said she has seen multiple social media posts regarding citizen-alligator encounters and urged citizens to proceed with caution and observe the animals from a distance.

“One individual made a really good point that people move to Huntsville from all over the U.S. and wouldn’t have any idea we have alligators,” said Sheppard. “Just leave them alone… we should respect them from a distance.”

Despite some individuals being shocked, the presence of alligators in North Alabama is nothing new. A report from the Associated Press says alligator reports in the Tennessee River go back as far as the late 1800s.

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