90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV are Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming and Classical Music. Part of the community since 1965, providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Researchers Discover New Deadly Disease For Gopher Tortoises

Gopher tortoise. Photo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Veterinary researchers at the University of Florida say they have discovered a new pathogen that is fatal for gopher tortoises. 

Researchers discovered the pathogen in three wild gopher tortoises in north central Florida. 

After the animals fell seriously ill, the new bacteria was found in their noses. Two of the tortoises died, and the third had to be euthanized.

Gopher tortoises are protected under the Endangered Species Act in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The species is a candidate for protection in Florida. 

The animals are important because their burrows provide shelter for hundreds of other creatures. 

The researchers speculate another invasive reptile might have introduced the pathogen. 

They also believe warming temperatures associated with climate change might be weakening the tortoises immune systems, making them more susceptible to disease. 

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

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 ... Read Full Bio »