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FL Press: Saving road tortoises

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Posted by: W von Papineu at Thu Nov 4 11:29:19 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papineu ]  
   

ABC (Tampa, Florida) 25 October 10 Drivers save the Gopher Tortoise from becoming road kill, but is it the right thing to do? (Keith Baker)
Brooksville, Fla.: After seeing two drivers on the same day stop and help a gopher tortoise off the road, I asked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission if that is the right thing to do.
It was a section of US Highway 98 between the Hernando-Citrus County line when two drivers pulled over within minutes of each other to move the turtles.
David Cook, FWC biologist, would tell citizens, “Thank-you for helping save the tortoise.”
Cook says the gopher tortoise is a protected species and threatened as their natural habitat continues to disappear. Anything to help turtles and other animals from becoming road kill is usually a good thing as long as it is safe to do so.
“Saving the life of a turtle is a good thing, as long as the tortoise is not moved far away from the habitat it knows”, said Cook.
He says the tortoise is familiar with its surroundings -- where it can find food and its burrows -- so moving it away from its home can be harmful.
The gopher tortoise prefers sandy hills and pine trees as an appropriate place to live.
They are not allowed to be kept as pets. If they mingle with other tortoises, they can develop an upper respiratory disease.
So if you spot a gopher tortoise about to become the latest traffic statistic, biologist David Cook says as long it can be done safely, “it seems like a good civic-minded thing to do.”
Drivers save the Gopher Tortoise from becoming road kill, but is it the right thing to do?


   

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