What To Do if You See a Gopher Tortoise

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has launched a new interactive app to promote science based gopher tortoise conservation efforts. This new system replaces the Florida Gopher Tortoise smartphone app, which has been decommissioned.

The City of Sanibel Department of Natural Resources is encouraging anyone that sees a gopher tortoise on Sanibel to participate in this reporting program and contribute to the State Gopher Tortoise Database.

Sanibel has a sizeable population of gopher tortoises, which inhabit the island’s conservation lands, residential neighborhoods and commercial properties. Due to the upland habitat requirements of the gopher tortoise and potential conflicts with human development activities, the species has experienced an 80% decline in population and is listed as a threatened species, protected by both state and local laws.

Click here to read about the FWC Gopher Tortoise Program and report a sighting.
To protect the gopher tortoises and gopher tortoise habitat, property owners can:
· Plant native vegetation for gopher tortoises to feed on.
· Maintain open areas in your yard by trimming back woody vegetation that can “shade out” gopher tortoise burrows.
· Leave existing gopher tortoise burrows undisturbed; avoid mowing, driving, or other activities that could cause disturbance directly around a tortoise burrow.

For more information regarding gopher tortoises on Sanibel, you can contact the City of Sanibel’s Natural Resources Department (239-472-3700) or visit the City’s website.