By Coastal Breeze News Staff
Recently several juvenile and young adult gopher tortoises were recently trapped in the Estates STRP project area. All were relocated out of the construction area to safer ground Environmentalist Specialist, Nancy Richie and Dr. Matt Finn, Huckleberry Finn Environmental Services. The bucket trap is a method to trap the tortoise as it moves in or out of the burrow. The buckets are checked hourly – 4 hours is the requirement. A bucket is placed in the ground so the opening is level with the opening of the burrow. Newspaper is placed over it and then covered with leaves, sand for camouflage. When the tortoise crosses it, it falls in the bucket. In the photo attached is a hatchling plus a commensal species that uses the tortoise’s burrow – a skink. Before the trapped tortoise is released, it is measured, sexed, weighed, checked for health, marked and then relocated to suitable, approved habitat. To date, seventeen have been relocated. Once the construction is completed, the sites that were trapped will be restored to habitat, food sources and the tortoises can return to their original grounds they call home.