The American alligator (alligator mississippiensis) is one of two living alligator species and is native only to the, southeastern United States. The other larger living alligator species is the Chinese alligator. Alligators come to us from a prehistoric era which makes these comeback kids even more amazing They survived their prehistoric relatives all the way into the 21st century in spite of being hunted for their skins and for meat by both natives to America as well as by those who settled here Alligators are not an endangered species, but they are legally protected, and they are classified as threatened because they a lot look like the American crocodile, which is an endangered species. As a result of earlier unregulated and unrestricted killing of the American Alligator, the alligator population noticeably decreased. Hunting restrictions in the 1940's and 50's slowed decline, but illegal poaching during the late 1950's and 1960's resulted in further decrease in populations. Extensive poaching continued until 1970 when an amendment to the federal Lacey Act made the interstate shipment of illegally-taken alligators a federal violation. Combined with reduced demand for alligator skins (brought about by outcries for protection of the species during the politically active late 1960's and 1970's) poaching was nearly eliminated. These photographs were taken near Fort Myers Florida in the everglades, where the American alligator continues its comeback. Once again, we had to do nothing except refrain from what we were doing to change the course of this keystone species.
Penelope Dyan is an attorney and former K-8 teacher published in 'The Kindergartner, ' as well as in 'Instructor Magazine' and in 'Humpty Dumpty' children's magazine, and several other professional journals; and she is an award winning author. Dyan is the author of 'Surfer Girl, ' the first book in a teen book series about a girl named Summer who serves the waves of the ocean and life as she searches for her legacy. "Surfer Girl" was the winner of best teen book at both the 2008 New York Book Festival and the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival and is also recognized by Girls Voices In Literature Database, Miami University, Florida. Two of her books ('Ben's Big Adventure--Proof Positive A Boy Will Be A Boy ' and 'Happy Birthday--A Book About Birthday Dreams And Wishes') were honored by being placed in the poetry collection of the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, the Saison Poetry Library housing the Arts Council Collection at Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall in London.