Gopher tortoises spend their days munching leafy greens under open canopies of pine trees and industriously digging burrows to hide from extreme weather and predators. But they're also team players, sharing their burrows with hundreds of other species like rabbits, foxes, quail, owls, frogs and rare eastern indigo snakes.
Unfortunately this keystone species is struggling to survive as its woods are destroyed to make way for pine plantations and urban development. Although western populations of gopher tortoises are protected under the Endangered Species Act, eastern populations are not -- and they continue to lose their homes and lives.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service knows these tortoises are on the road to extinction, but relegated them to a waiting list that offers them no protection. Many candidate species have gone extinct waiting for the Act's vital safeguards; the gopher tortoise has already waited for more than a decade. Time is of the essence.
Tell the Service to protect eastern gopher tortoises before it's too late.
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Please take action by Jan. 17, 2018.
Photo of gopher tortoise by Craig O'Neal/Flickr.
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