The gopher tortoise is a federally endangered species that is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
If you live in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants input from the public on draft revisions of the commission’s gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) permitting guidelines. The guidelines are designed to protect the reptile, which is a keystone species in its habitat and is a threatened species in the state.
In January of this year, the FWC approved temporary deviations from the state’s Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines. The executive order at the time was an attempt to the high demand for gopher tortoise placement at recipient sites, as the state deals with construction on gopher tortoise locales.
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If you wish to comment, you can do so via the FWC webinar, which will take place Wednesday September 7, from 8:30 to 10:30 AM and Wednesday September 14, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. For those who cannot make the webinar, you can submit written comments from August 24 to September 23. Guidelines for commenting can be read at MyFWC.com/GopherTortoise. Alteratively, for those who cannot make the webinar or the written comments can send comments to Katherine.Richardson@MyFWC.com
Gopher Tortoise Information
The gopher tortoise is a federally endangered species that is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is considered a keystone species by scientists, due to its burrowing nature, which then helps an estimated 360 other animal species who take advantage of those networks of tunnels. The reptile averages about a foot long and can be found in along the coastal plains of the Southeastern United States, including South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, southern Alabama, Mississippi, and southeastern Louisiana. Gopher tortoises dine primarily on grasses in the wild and can eat beans, corn and most fruit. It is protected throughout its range and requires a permit to keep.