Florida gopher tortoise relocation: overview and case study


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated, randomized study in 1985–1987 in mixed pine and cabbage palm woodland in Florida, USA (Burke 1989) found that over a third of translocated gopher tortoises Gopherus polyphemus initially kept in holding pens survived at least two years after release and bred in the wild. In total 32 of 75 tortoises survived at least two years after release. One of three recaptured females was gravid and three tortoises less than a year old were captured two years after the original release. In 1985, a total of 75 tortoises were caught using bucket traps and translocated to a county park 25 km away. Tortoises had previously been present in the new location but they were no longer considered to be present at the time of release. Tortoises were individually marked and were randomly allocated to one of four holding pens (56 m2) for 0–15 days prior to release. An additional 10 tortoises were released in 1986. Tortoises were recaptured in 1986 and 1987. Female tortoises were x-rayed to check for gravidity.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

Output references
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