Texas wildlife authorities are investigating a man who boasted on Facebook that he illegally killed an 11 1/2-foot alligator in Central Texas. The suspected poacher, who likely had to go off the beaten path to encounter the alligator, was not identified because he hasn't (yet) been formally charged with what is likely to be a misdemeanor, according to Fox News.
About a week ago, authorities discovered the gator's body near a creek in Bastrop County, where it is illegal to kill alligators because there is no open hunting season for them (unlike some other parts of the state). The inquiry began after a tip to the state's Operation Game Thief program, which offers rewards for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of poachers. Fred Ensinger, a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, said the tipster saw the alligator posting on Facebook and said, "That doesn't look right."
"Once it hit social networking it was all over the place," the game warden said. He believes the man, who has been cooperative, did not shoot the alligator for its meat or hide but probably out of "curiosity, out of ignorance." He added: "They saw it, said 'that's a big animal,' and decided to go back and shoot it."
The alligator's size is an "anomaly," according to Ensinger, who noted that it's nearly twice as big as gators rarely seen so far from the Texas Gulf Coast. It is estimated to be at least 20 to 30 years old and weigh between 500 to 800 pounds, given its length and girth.
When you do something that you consider to be "cool," make sure it's not illegal before using your Facebook status to tell everyone you know. For whatever reason, users seem to forget that a status update can find itself in the wrong hands, and in this case, on the wrong side of the law.