Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

There was a 7-foot alligator in the harbor of the Municipal Yacht Club. Not a welcome guest.

A diver’s run-in with a 7-foot alligator near the Municipal Yacht Harbor in New Orleans Monday has prompted warnings and the deployment of trappers, who caught one of the reptiles on Wednesday. Tenants of the Orleans Marina received an email Monday warning them of an “alligator attack” that was reported that morning in the Municipal Yacht Harbor, which sits just north of the Orleans Marina. Marina staff warned tenants to avoid swimming in the harbor and to report any alligator sightings. “We have had a few swimming at this marina,” the email reads, “and for every instance we have sent out a designated alligator trapper through LA Wildlife and Fisheries who has been successful in capturing them at both South Shore Harbor and Orleans Marina.”

A diver found the alligator when it bumped him as he was working on a wharf.

Jeb Linscombe, Alligator Program manager at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said the encounter occurred just west of the Municipal Yacht Harbor, in the Bucktown Harbor Marina. A diver was working on a wharf there when a 7-foot alligator “bumped him,” he said. Unsettling as it may have been, Linscombe said, it wasn’t an attack. “We have very, very few attacks in the state of Louisiana,” he said. “They’re almost nonexistent.” Still, it doesn’t take an attack for Wildlife and Fisheries to send out alligator trappers. New Orleans is surrounded by alligator habitat and it’s not unusual to see them around, Linscombe said. But an alligator becomes a nuisance when it leaves its habitat and is encroaching on an urban environment, especially if the reptile in question has become accustomed to humans feeding it.

To answer complaints Wildlife and Fisheries sends in a licensed nuisance hunter.

If a land owner makes a complaint about such an alligator, Wildlife and Fisheries sends in licensed nuisance alligator hunters. There are about 50 nuisance trappers statewide, Linscombe said, who are allowed to trap and kill nuisance alligators year-round. While some smaller reptiles can be saved, anything longer than around 8 feet is killed and used for its meat and hide. “We relocate smaller alligators to more remote locations where they’re not a problem,” Linscombe said, “but we don’t want to relocate large animals because really you’re not eliminating the problem, you’re moving it.” Trappers were already sent out to the Bucktown Harbor Marina to take care of this particular gator, Linscombe said, and have been sent to that area in the past.  “This is not unusual,” he said.  On Wednesday, a trapper caught an alligator on the lawn of the Southern Yacht Club, which is just east of the Municipal Yacht Harbor.

I am sure the diver was surprised at the unwelcome guest.

Municipal Yacht Marina has unwanted visitor