How to Save Endangered Tigers: Kill Them?
Case Study: In 1967, the American alligator was listed as an endangered species (under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act of 1973), meaning it was considered in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
The creation of large, commercial alligator farms helped to save alligators. Alligator farming is a big and growing industry in Georgia, Florida, Texas and Louisiana. These states produce a combined annual total of some 45,000 alligator hides. Alligator hides bring good prices and hides in the 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 m) range have sold for $300 each, though the price can fluctuate considerably from year to year. The market for alligator meat is growing and approximately 300,000 pounds (140,000 kg) of meat is produced annually.
Today, in just the state of Louisiana, there are 723,000 alligators on alligator farms, and biologists estimate Florida has 2 million wild alligators. In fact, there are so many wild alligators in Florida that state officials have lifted the ban on alligator hunting, and they now have an 11-week hunting season. The American alligator was removed from the endangered species list in 1987 after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pronounced a complete recovery of the species.
Bottom Line: Private property rights, commercial farming, and the commercial sale of alligator meat and hides played a large role in the recovery of the American alligator. The same approach could help save tigers, elephants and rhinos, or any other endangered species.