It was in 1975, the American crocodile was listed as a federally endangered species, as was on the brink of disappearing from South Florida – the only U.S. habitat of the reptile. The population was estimated at just about 300, by 1976.
But, presently, scientists estimate the American crocodiles’ count in Florida to be 2,000! And eventually, it was on Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declassified the rebounding reptile as an endangered species.
Though the reptile was downgraded to a “threatened” species, it remains protected under the federal Endangered Species Act protecting it from harassment, poaching or killing legally.
Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Tom MacKenzie said,
It’s just one step closer to recovery, but it still has many, many threats. It’s still protected with the full force of federal law.
According to Florida officials, there are more than 1 million wild alligators in the state, as estimated last year.