Hundreds of gopher tortoises saved, relocated to Walton County

Published: Friday, October 25, 2013 at 09:09 AM.

"We haven't even used 1 percent of the land available," Aresco said.

In an effort to save even more gopher tortoises Nokuse Plantation is proactively seeking more development sites that may be endangering the tortoises.

"Before the end of the Incidental Take Permit, developers could pay money to the state and do whatever they wanted," Aresco said. "Just based on records, an estimate of 100,000 tortoises have been killed before from 1991-2007 when the permits were allowed. People used to eat them up until the late 1980s."

"We have a list of all of those sites that could be endangering the tortoises, throughout Orlando, Jacksonville and around Tampa," he added.

When it comes to defending those who cannot defend themselves, anyone can make an impact.

"One or two people can make a difference for urban species," Pauli said. "For any situation there's probably a more humane alternative, you just have to look for it."


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