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|Location:||Florida, United States|
April 1, 2008
Speak Out for Gopher Tortoises!
Thanks in part to the continued efforts of dedicated advocates like you, last December the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) upgraded the gopher tortoise's protected status to "threatened" -- indicating a "very high risk of extinction" -- and approved a management plan that will begin to provide greater protections for Florida's gopher tortoises. The state still doesn't require biologist-recommended "soft release" relocations. Soft-release uses large enclosures and post-release monitoring to help tortoises gradually acclimate to their new surroundings, so they are less likely to try and find their way back or suffer from disease, predation, starvation, or encounters with speeding cars.
And, worse yet, many unused, "grandfathered" kill permits still allow the entombment of thousands more tortoises. Burial alive is a particularly horrible death for tortoises: their slow metabolic rate means that they suffer for months as they gradually suffocate, dehydrate, and starve to death.
At its upcoming April 10 meeting, the FWC will consider guidelines that would require soft-release relocations for most developments of tortoise habitat. Urge them to immediately start requiring a humane, soft-release method for all gopher tortoise relocations and to stop allowing developers with "grandfathered" permits to bury tortoises alive. Please tell your friends and family in Florida how they can take action, too.
Thank you for all you have done to protect Florida's wildlife from inhumane policies and unsustainable development.
Executive Vice President
The Humane Society of the United States
Please send an email to FWC Commissioners today!