Two South Carolina men are accused of wildlife harassment for forcing a juvenile alligator to shotgun a beer.
The men allegedly posted photos on social media showing them pour beer into the mouth of a small gator they found crossing the road in Jasper County on Wednesday, May 24, according to a Friday news release. One of the online photos released by the DNR was titled, "Gator Shotgun."
The agency said it was alerted by numerous emails and messages from members of the public about the incident, which reportedly occurred on a public dirt road between Hardeeville and Tillman.
The men admitted to officers they committed the offense, including the posting of the photos, and said they later released the gator into a small pond, the news release stated.
"Wildlife conservation is a big part of what SCDNR officers do each day," SCDNR 1st Sgt. Earl Pope said. "This case is a good example of why we strive to educate people about wildlife in hopes that they will respect it."
More from SCDNR:
SCDNR is filing the misdemeanor charge of harassing wildlife through the state's alligator management legislation (Article 5, Section 50-15-500, Subsection C). This charge comes with a maximum fine of $300. The judge who oversees the case in court will determine the men's final punishment.
There is federal protection in place to ensure alligators are legally harvested for international trade. But for a case like this, no federal protection applies.
"Alligators are protected under state law and even federal law where they are still listed as threatened solely due to their similarity of appearance to other endangered crocodilians worldwide," SCDNR Alligator Program Coordinator Jay Butfiloski said.
People who witness the harassment of wildlife should report the incident to 1-800-922-5431, the agency said.
More more from the SCDNR