In 1985 the State of Florida permitted commercial farming of alligators and John Hudson opened the first such farm in Dade County. In the 60's, the American alligator had almost become extinct and was placed on the endangered species list by the Federal Government. Commercial farming was correctly seen as a way to insure the preservation of this reptile, which traces its existence back to the time of the dinosaurs. The Everglades Alligator Farm is currently home to about 2,000 alligators of all sizes. The smaller alligators are kept in growout pens and the larger alligators are in natural settings called breeding ponds.