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Orange leads in number of gopher tortoises displaced by development

The Nature Conservancy

New research shows that Orange County leads the state in the number of gopher tortoises displaced for development.

The tortoises are protected in Florida as threatened and must be relocated for new construction. Here’s Neal Halstead of Wildlands Conservation, a nonprofit group.

“We also see a band of counties along the I-4 corridor that are among the highest exporters of tortoises while counties along the Kissimmee River valley tend to be net importers.” 

Gopher tortoises are found in the same upland habitats like forests and pastures that developers prefer. Osceola County leads the state when it comes to where the tortoises are moved to.

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, among many other publications. She began her career at The Associated Press in Nashville, Tenn. Amy grew up in Florida and lives in Orlando with her 7-year-old daughter.
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