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Gopher Tortoise Ecology Program Updates

Below is the latest on our Gopher Tortoise Ecology in Pine Rockland program. To find out more about the species and the whole program click here: Gopher Tortoise Ecology in Pine Rockland Program


New research by Zoo Miami studies Miami's last endangered gopher tortoises

Gopher Tortoises are a threatened species that lives throughout pine forests of Florida, where they dig deep burrows to use as their homes. The leading threat to gopher tortoises in Florida is human expansion of cities and suburbs, which displace the tortoises and destroy the burrows they create. Given the extent of urbanization in Miami, it's not a surprise that the tortoises are rare here. A new study led by Zoo Miami's Conservation and Research Department focuses on the last popul... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 27 January 2022

Tortoise Attack!!

Our gopher tortoise Research Associate, Adrian Figueroa, had an unusual encounter with one of our gopher tortoises today. While checking on one of the female tortoises in her burrow, he heard something crashing through the pinelands towards him and captured this video of Mr. 491 coming to give him a piece of his mind and a little tortitude!! Watch the clip below. Your browser doesn't support video. Please download the file: video/mp4   Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 14 October 2021

New Gopher Tortoise Translocations

Recently, Dr. Steven Whitfield from the Zoo's conservation team released four Gopher Tortoises at a safe translocation site, where they will join a small resident tortoise population.  These four tortoises came from the South Florida Wildlife Center, who cares for tortoises that have been injured or displaced by people.  Normally, Gopher Tortoises have an established home range, with a number of cozy burrows of their own, and a social network of tortoises that they interact with... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 11 October 2021


Through our research efforts we have identified high risk areas for gopher tortoises. One such area is where a section of our pine rockland preserve is immediately next to a busy service road on Zoo Miami grounds. Gopher tortoises of all ages are seen crossing this road in an area where there is a blind curve. We teamed up with volunteers at Skyscanner for their One Day of service to place an ecofriendly barrier to reroute tortoise movements. No accidents with tortoises have happened and with... Read More
Posted by Frank Ridgley at 29 March 2019

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