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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on July 24, 2002 at 13:49:14:
SKY NEWS (London, UK) 20 July 02 Gators Invade Gardens
Residents in South Florida are having a few problems with their neighbours.
They've made a record number of calls to complain about alligators swamping their housing developments.
Conservationists say developers are to blame for building in the areas where the creatures traditionally live.
More than 1,000 new homes a week are being built under South Florida's housing boom, much of it on the edge of the Everglades.
As the urban sprawl spreads into the swamp, the gators are being squeezed out and heading to the nearest available habitat - people's gardens.
The unwelcome visitors have seen alligator trappers rushed off their feet.
Thirty-five years ago, alligators were an endangered species. Now that's all changed - there are more than a million of them in the Everglades.
While just three people were killed by alligators last year, the number of complaints rocketed to a record 17,000.
Two possible fates await captured gators - Florida law dictates that the bigger ones have to be killed.
The others are released into the swamp. But it's only a matter of time before they return - and the alligator trapper has to make another house call.