NAPLES, Fla. — The Florida Forest Service supervised the release of five gopher tortoises at a new conservation site in the Picayune Strand State Forest on Thursday morning.
The tortoises were first found in areas within old spoil piles that are now being removed from the Picayune Strand.
Gopher tortoises are a threatened wildlife species protected by state law. The new conservation recipient site took two years to construct. It began its establishment after a bill was passed in March that directed state agencies to use parts of public land for recipient sites.
The Florida Forest Service will release up to 24 gopher tortoises into the conservation site.
According to a press release, they believe that the site will not only provide survival for the tortoises, but that their presence will preserve the biodiversity in Picayune Strand State Forest.