Alligator Fishing Tackle Injuries

For many years now, our first gesture upon arriving in the Okefenokee Swamp is to say ‘hello’ to “Sophie”, the resident alligator that inhabits the boat bay at the Stephen C Foster campground. But in 2021, our joy at seeing her quickly turned to sadness, and a bit of outrage. Sophie had suffered a horrible injury.

American Alligator with fish hook stuck in eye. Fishing tackle and fishing line pollution poses a threat to wildlife. Aquatic wildlife becomes entangled or injured. Photographed Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia, USA. `Sophie` is the resident alligator at the Stephen C Foster State Park in Georgia and was injured in late 2020. ©

No doubt, a boater failed to pull in their gear before entering the small bay. A large hook, with a length of line still attached, had penetrated Sophie’s eye and caused considerable damage.

I have nothing against fishing, but poor practices and lazily discarded tackle can cause serious problems for wildlife. Waterfowl are often entangled in lines causing lacerations, feather damage and death. Turtles often swallow hooks or get them caught in their beaks. Hooks left in released fish can be ingested by other wildlife causing internal bleeding.

To be sure that other alligators don’t suffer like “Sophie”, be sure to clean up all hooks, lures and line. ​For more information and tips, see

iNaturalist observation:

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

4 thoughts on “Alligator Fishing Tackle Injuries

  1. It’s always disturbing to see animals and birds suffering because of the careless nature of some humans – I’m sure there are animal rescue services that may be able to treat this alligator

    Liked by 1 person

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