Sunday, 21 April 2013

FWC approves gopher tortoise permit guidelines

FWC approves gopher tortoise permit guidelines, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved gopher tortoise permitting guidelines on Thursday, April 18, at its meeting near Tallahassee reported The Florida Current on April 18.

Guidelines are designed to be consistent with the updated Gopher Tortoise Management Plan approved in September 2012.

Updated permitting guidelines provide adequate financial planning for the long-term management of gopher tortoise sites, guidelines for the capture and relocation when using a backhoe, and criteria to define when to suspend, revoke or not renew an authorized gopher tortoise agent permit.

Tortoises are in search of greenery to eat after emerging from winter dormancy in their deep burrows. “Conservation of gopher tortoises and their burrows that shelter other species is our long-term goal,” said Deborah Burr, The FWC’s gopher tortoise management plan coordinator.

Gopher tortoises live in all of Florida’s sixty seven counties, preferring high, dry, sandy places such as longleaf pine forests, oak sandhills, pine flatwoods and coastal flatlands and dunes. Their burrows can be recognized by the half-moon shape of the entrance, which curves at the top.

The gopher tortoise is listed as a state threatened species, and it is against the law to harm them, their burrows or eggs. Generally, it is best to leave a gopher tortoise undisturbed, unless you need to move it off a highway. Then it should be placed immediately on the other side of the road and pointed in the same direction it was traveling.

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