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guy tried to sell Gopher in Ft. Meyers FL on Craigslist (?)

Discussion in 'North American Tortoises (genus Gopherus)' started by Jeffrey Jeffries, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Jeffrey Jeffries

    Jeffrey Jeffries New Member

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    Odessa, Florida, US
    Florida Wildlife Commission responded today to several reports of what appeared to be a threatened and protected Florida Gopher tortoise, freshly caught, being sold.

    This read on Craigslist, out of Ft. Meyers:

    Tortoise $250

    Tortoise Great for kids !
    Does not bite
    ***Cant swim***
    Extremely friendly
    will deliver

    gopher-trying-sell-tortoise-for-fwc-sting.jpg

    I know there is a tortoise or two that can appear similar, but he doesn't state the species.
    As you can see the animal is in a car on the floorboard, a couple droplets of human sweat landing on him, fresh burrow sand still falling from him/her.

    Some might think, "Why not call the guy and give him a heads up" but I'm glad none of us did, nor flagged or removed the ad before FWC investigated (possibly to meet up under buying pretense).
    For better or for worse, I know they are usually pretty light on folks they truly feel were ignorant.
    And this way he doesn't just panic and chuck the animal somewhere crummy, rather, hopefully it's relocated by FWC.
    I knew of a truly hungry father and son who tried to come to FL and get established with jobs, camping instead of Salvation Army house etc, and they were formally from a place teeming with legally edible softshell turtles.They knew no better and offered an officer a piece of gopher tortoise roasted on a stick. It got dropped in court as a lesson; this was around 1991.
    So...I prayed for this guy in case he had unfortunate reasons for needing the money, but so often we know it's just opportunism for a happy bonus buck, gone in an instant with permanent consequences for the environment and threatened species and specimen.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
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  2. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    On a side note. These tortoises can't be kept as pets here in FLORIDA. But developers can bury whole groups of them alive and built a parking lot on top of them for a fee.
    In the places that they live. Dry scrub areas. They are very numerous.
    I wonder how many Gopherus have been lost just to loss of habitat and politics alone?
    However, selling an indigenous tortoise is a no brainer.
    It's likely that this person just doesn't have a clue...And if they knew what they were doing....
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
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  3. Crzt4torts

    Crzt4torts Active Member

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    That is horrible! Pay a fee and bury endangered species? Politics! Grrrr
  4. Jeffrey Jeffries

    Jeffrey Jeffries New Member

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    It's certainly true the main problem is habitat destruction which I must take partial responsibility in since I live here, whether any were destroyed (knowingly, legally, or not) directly because of my home or whether all the places I work and do business etc. and so on have been the said encroachment.

    This sounds horrifying about the paying a fee legally and paving over them; what an image for my head...is this still the case in FL?
    I am soliciting FWC and freelance Authorized Agents to get in volunteer hours (ultimately 120) as an Authorized Agent Assistant so that I might become an Authorized Assistant and be ready to show up on any given scene without delay to assist in permitted relocation to recipient sites and/or contingent same-overall-site, same-population relocation. This, since I only own 1.2 acres of ideal habitat and you have to have 25 acres even to be a licensed temporary recipient site and 40+ acres to hope for permanency of relocated tortoises as a recipient site, legally... and they don't want many per acre, either.

    Anyway here is the permitting & relocating document I've been reading which includes fees and permits that developers are to be aware of:
    http://myfwc.com/media/2984206/GT-Permitting-Guidelines-FINAL-Feb2015.pdf
    When I speed read my comprehension is such that I need to have another go, but first glance
    I'm not seeing how you legalize killing one or more healthy gopherus.
    There's this weird statement:
    A permit is required for any activity not covered in the section above, that causes a take, harassment, molestation, damage, or destruction to gopher tortoises or their burrows (see Rule 68A- 27.003, F.A.C., in Appendix 1.)
    but I haven't been able to locate the permit for destruction of healthy tortoises in their burrows -- not saying it's not there (or somewhere).
    I would just like to get my hands on the permit and/or fee to write an article if it still exists.
    I'm sure much of the problem, anyway, is just folks looking in either direction, clearing their throat, and bulldozing undocumented communities of them, under radar, too.
    Like I say, I love tortoises fiercely, but I can't sit here in my Florida home and work and go to school and court and shops etc. and separate myself 100% from the evil humans who destroy their habitats.
    I wonder if cattle ranch owners could be solicited to have volunteers facilitate their property becoming recipient sites, hmmm.
    Scope out some that don't seem prime real estate for them to get dollar signs in their eyes anytime soon. Then you could document the torts there and they'd have to be recognized and relocated in the event of a sellout.
    I'm just thinking of things because ven the document above states land owersare valuable resources.
    There's no where, often, to just plop off-site relocated tort off. You can't just release them to torment others at their own, full-up sites.
    Like Zeropilot said, habitat destruction and perhaps politics are the problem.
    I sure don't like to see one plucked from a happy home, though, to sell, nonetheless, just because some guy who want a few bucks spotted it.
    After all they've gone through. Just insult to injury; I'm glad they're protected. More people need to know not to "save them" and chuck them in ponds and sea, too. Just happened 100 yards from here. I went diving into an alligator muck pond feeling all around as soon as I was told, and never did find the "dry turtle with elephant back feet" someone threw in. :(
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