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TRENTON FARMER FAILS TO SCALE OPPOSITION TO ALLIGATOR RANCH

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has rejected a Trenton farmer's proposal to establish an alligator ranch north of Box Elder County.

He planned to feed the gators road kill.In an Aug. 19 letter, Tom Reinecker, the department's wildlife bureau chief, wrote that an alligator farm would not be allowed because of potential escape problems. He also said wildlife killed on Idaho roads cannot be used as feed.

In cooperation with Bear River Resource Conservation and Development, Garland Larson was planning to start a $1.4 million alligator ranch in southeastern Idaho. The exact location of the ranch has not been released.

The project would use the region's hot springs and was partially undertaken to solve the area's problem with disposal of dead livestock and wildlife carcasses.

Larson had hoped to be ready to receive 5,000 hatchling and yearling alligators by mid-September, but was unable to start construction without importation permits from Idaho Fish and Game.

Larson said he plans to meet with fish and game officials, as well as local government leaders in hopes of finding a workable solution.

Under the proposal, the alligators would be housed in 42-foot diameter plastic tanks with 6-foot walls. Those tanks would be in a building, surrounded by a chain link fence.

Larson said alligators could not escape from the building, and even if they did, they could not survive the climate.

Larson said that even when the weather is warm enough for them, it is too dry, and rivers and lakes are too cold for them.