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Reintroduction of Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) to Reclaimed Phosphate Land

03-105-126Final

Abstract:

This study investigated the suitability of phosphate mined land as reestablishment areas for the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), a Florida Species of Special Concern, and sought to determine (1) if limited habitat enhancement would increase tortoise reestablishment success, and (2) if translocation had an effect on tortoise reproduction or growth. Associated with this project is FIPR Project #93-03-105R, “Growth and reproduction in reintroduced and resident gopher tortoises on reclaimed phosphate mined lands,” by C. R. Small and L. A. Macdonald (in press), in which growth and reproduction in the study animals following translocation are examined in detail and compared with tortoises from other sites in central Florida.

The research was designed to monitor tortoises for at least four years, 1988-1991, and included an additional field season in 1993, in order to ascertain trends and stabilization in the tortoise population over time.