Monday, July 09, 2007

Happy Ending for 239 Lucky Tortoises

Thanks to Carissa and David who organized a community effort, 239 lucky gopher tortoises were saved from being buried alive in a new subdivision being developed in Geneva, Florida. One tract of land that was fifty five acres had over 239 tortoises! The developer paid his $100,000 to "take" the tortoises, but Carissa called him up and convinced him to try and rescue as many tortoises as possible. He essentially paid twice for these tortoises because Plan B meant he had to pay for a back-hoe that cost $1,000 a day to rent. It took several weeks to dig 15 feet into each gopher tortoise burrow to rescue each and every one that could be found. This developer generated a whole bunch of good will for his project. There was a tremendous response from the Orlando area and everyone wanted to help. At one point the rescue effort had to turn people away because they had such an overwhelming response to the call for help and were not prepared to train so many people. It just goes to show that people do care.

This new subdivision is just one of hundreds that are being developed all over Central Florida. One developer cared enough to do the right thing. I wonder how many unlucky tortoises are buried alive elsewhere. Carissa and
David are local eco-heroes and so are the many people who assisted in the rescue effort.

A gopher tortoise can live for a year in its burrow dying a slow death of starvation and dehydration because it can not get out of the burrow once it is buried.
There were 239 luck tortoises thanks to Carissa and David and a community that cared. Her e-mail is attached in the comments.
And thanks to all who helped spread the word!

1 comment:

Martie said...

Hello everyone~~

David and I returned from the Panhandle late last night after dropping off the last tortoises (59) to Nokuse Plantation. Dr. Matt Aresco and his team took measurements, marked the tortoises, and hydrated them in preparation for their release into their new home early this morning (0600 hours). Dr. Aresco also advised that most of the other 200+ tortoises have already settled down and dug burrows!! The relocation is now officially completed.

Thanks to your participation, support, and generosity, we rescued 293 tortoises!!! Our final burrow count was 690 burrows!! If it wasn't for your dedication and commitment to saving these tortoises, this rescue would not have been possible. We are honored and privileged to know all of you and see such devotion and hard work pay off so wonderfully. Your passion to save these imperiled animals was evident through your acts of kindness, support, sweat, and tears. Rarely, do you see people of such diverse backgrounds come together on one issue. These tortoises brought citizens from all over the state, the developer, and HSUS, together for a common and spirited cause. This project truly renewed my faith in humanity in such uncertain times and proved the fact that citizens coming together can truly effect change. It was amazing to see so many people who didn't know each other work together so fluidly and flawlessly and without complaint on some of the hottest and also rainiest days of the year. Everyone showed such energy and commitment to saving the tortoises of Wilderness Estates, and for that, we thank you....

Carissa and David