Authorities are trying to find the person responsible for removing an alligator’s tail in northern Texas on Aug. 1.
Texas Game Wardens is offering $1,000 reward to anyone with information that helps bring to justice those responsible for unlawfully killing and removing the tail from an alligator at Lake Worth, 43 miles west of Dallas.
“An alligator was killed on or around Aug. 1 on Lake Worth near the mouth of the West Fork of the Trinity River,” Operation Game Thief Crime Stoppers said on Facebook. “[The] alligator was found dead and its tail removed.”
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, the 2019 alligator hunting season was only lawful between April 1 and June 30. This suggests the alligator found in the lake was very likely to have been illegally hunted.
“The illegal act occurred around Aug. 1,” Operation Game Thief said. “Texas Game Wardens in Tarrant County are seeking information leading to the individual(s) responsible for this illegal act.”
— Eline de Bruijn (@debruijneline) August 6, 2019
Fox 4 speculated a poacher may have harvested the tail for either edible meat or possibly its skin to manufacture exotic leather products that could fetch a high price from tourists.
Game Wardens searching for person who cut off Lake Worth alligator’s tail https://t.co/NmBjJwDAoY
— FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) August 6, 2019
Social media users agreed with the theory that the alligator was poached.
“Looks like somebody needed some new gator skin boots or belt,” Felix Rodriguez commented on Facebook.
— NoAnimalPoaching! (@NoAnimalPoachin) May 3, 2017
— KARK 4 News (@KARK4News) June 7, 2018
Others speculated the tail was poached for food and lamented that was the only part harvested.
“They cut tail off, someone is eating gator tail,” Johnathan Valadez commented on Facebook.
“Toughest meat on a gator,” John Roach commented.
“Waste of good meat. I would never kill a gator and only eat the tail,” Jeff Pierce commented. “Legs get barbecued, ribs and back stripped for gumbo, jaw roast on bigger ones.”
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) June 21, 2018
Most users did not accept the theory that a boat propeller sliced off the tail.
“I saw it in person,” Coy Greathouse commented. “[It was] 100 percent cut off with a knife of some kind.”
Anyone with information about the alligator and its alleged attacker is encouraged to phone the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-792-4263.
— Jon Dodson (@FreaknHunting) August 6, 2019