Gary, a P.A.W.S. volunteer from the Belleview/Summerfield area, is pictured carefully carrying a recently trapped tortoise to its new temporary home. The temporary pen was installed and made ready prior to beginning trapping. Gary and other volunteers prepared the pen, (which will hold its new resident for up to 10 days), by carefully constructing a "starter-burrow", utilizing sand and other materials from the apron of the tortoise' original burrow. Volunteers also installed a shallow water pan, (tortoise wading pool), and transplanted tender vegetation and other gopher tortoise favorites inside the pen and near the new burrow entrance, including prickly pear cactus.
It will take about ten days for the tortoise to "home" to its new burrow, safely away from nearby new home construction. While penned, the tortoise is diligently tended to by volunteers. Daily food rations will include small amounts of seasonal fruits, such as persimmons, crabapples, muscadines scuppernongs and palm berries. These are augmented with over-ripe bananas, apple bits, small pieces of carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, kale and green beans or peas. LIFE IS GOOD! But, not all development stories end so well for displaced wildlife.
P.A.W.S. notes that cooperation and coordination between the organization, its volunteers and builders is essential to any real success.
P.A.W.S. is experienced and well-respected. Builders and developers know that they can count on our organization to relocate threatened animals prior to, and during construction, in a timely manner that limits disruption to building schedules.
While many reputable builders contact us for help, many others do not, choosing instead to simply kill or entomb tortoises rather than take the time to prevent their loss.
Relocation is simple and successful when performed by professionals. Currently, P.A.W.S does not charge homeowners for relocation services, but does ask commercial clients to reimburse for direct costs.
Paid conservation consultants can charge hundreds, even thousands of dollars for a single relocation. Our direct expenses are generally billed at less than $160.00 per event.
TORTOISE SPARED - BUILDER COOPERATION ESSENTIAL
P.A.W.S. hopes to be able to provide this free service indefinitely. However, given the rise in new home construction, it is eventually foreseeable that P.A.W.S. will have to set a standard fee for commercial clients. Even if does become necessary to charge for our services, it is extremely likely that P.A.W.S., a non-profit organization, will always be a more cost effective alternative than typical consulting firms.
Make sure that you have your home built by a responsible contractor. Don't buy from builders who plunder our resources for profits sake!
This guy is about (60) years old! (the tortoise - not the volunteer). Properly relocated, it should live out the balance of its life expectancy. A tortoise entombed by heavy equipment, due to their very slow metabolism, can take months to slowly die of starvation, dehydration or asphyxiation