Preserving the Gopher tortoise - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Preserving the Gopher tortoise

March 19, 2006

Colquitt County--A south Georgia state park in on a mission to save Georgia's state reptile.

In Colquitt County, employees at Reed Bingham State Park are working extra hard to preserve and protect the Gopher tortoise.

Since 2000, the tortoise population at the park has dropped significantly. Originally, gopher tortoises generally covered most of the Southeastern US, now, they are just found in Georgia and Florida.

Armadillos are on the prowl for nest eggs, and are decreasing the population.

Now, park employees mark all burrows so they can protect the eggs.

"All of the yellow flags you see there, they may be an active burrow or they may be males or females, we're not sure yet, we just mark them to mark the burrow and have them identified," says park naturalist, Jennifer Glover.

Volunteers are needed at Reed Bingham State Park for project Gopher Tortoise. Anyone inerested must attend three training sessions.