State reptile is a species of concern

Published: Jul. 28, 2011 at 3:49 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2011 at 7:05 PM EDT
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says Georgia's state reptile needs to be protected, but right now it can't be listed as an endangered species.

The service added the gopher tortoise to a candidate list of potentially endangered species.

The service won't begin working on a formal listing proposal because it's focusing its limited resources on higher priorities.

An expert at Chehaw says the main threats to Gopher Tortoises come from human development and non-native animals.

The Wildlife Service decision could make federal grant money available for Gopher Tortoise conservation, but the species will not be protected under federal law.