Did you know April 10 has been officially declared Gopher Tortoise Day by the Gopher Tortoise Council? In Florida, gopher tortoises are a threatened species, found in parts of all 67 counties and frequently encountered in neighborhoods, along roadways and on many of the state’s private and public lands.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is counting on people and organizations like you to help us with conservation of this important species by adopting April 10 as Florida Gopher Tortoise Day in your community! We hope you join us in promoting Gopher Tortoise Day to increase awareness and appreciation for these long-lived, gentle reptiles. Now is the time to start your planning!
Gopher tortoises are a keystone species because they dig huge underground burrows that provide refuge for over 360 other species of wildlife called commensals. Among the commensal species sharing its burrows are the gopher frog, Florida mouse, Eastern indigo snake and hundreds of invertebrates like beetles and crickets. Without gopher tortoise burrows, many of these species might not survive.
Go to the Florida Gopher Tortoise Day website, http://gophertortoisedayfl.com/, for the resources to assist you in adopting April 10 as Gopher Tortoise Day in your community, including a resolution template, sample press release and sample social media post. You also can find information on hosting a Gopher Tortoise Day event, including educational materials that can be downloaded and distributed at events and in neighborhoods, local schools, or local government offices. Last but not least, the website includes gopher tortoise photos, a video and fun facts that answer common questions about gopher tortoises.
If you have questions about Gopher Tortoise Day, hosting an event, or adopting a resolution, please contact the Gopher Tortoise Education and Outreach Coordinator at Theresa.Dash@MyFWC.com or call (850) 921–1025.
Stay tuned, because more information on Florida Gopher Tortoise Day will be coming your way!