P.A.W.S. – Peoples Alliance for Wildlife Survival, Inc.
Information for Florida Real Estate Professionals



Several local real estate professionals have called recently regarding or GOPHER TORTOISE WARNING SIGNS, which are presently being installed all over Lake, Marion and Sumter counties.

P.A.W.S. volunteers are in the process of photographing, GPS mapping, videotaping, and marking protected gopher tortoise burrows in an attempt to spare this keystone species from entombment by land clearing equipment as development ensues at a record pace. Many tortoises are BURIED ALIVE, and due to their extremely slow metabolism, are left to die a slow and agonizing death that can take as long as four months.

Realtors have expressed concerns that the presence of our signs will deter prospective clients form purchasing parcels that may be more difficult to develop due to the presence of this protected species. This is not the case, and the signs are merely a way to make interested parties aware of the presence, and to allow them to properly mitigate for the exposure.

P.A.W.S. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of all indigenous Florida species and their habitats. We are also realists, and we do recognize that development for humans must come first. That does not mean that we should ignore the plight of this keystone species and BURY IT ALIVE, when there are so many available mitigation options.

Some for-profit conservation consultants are charging hundreds, even thousands of dollars to relocate a single tortoise burrow. Our organization relocates gopher tortoises at NO CHARGE for homeowners, and asks our commercial clients for a very nominal reimbursement of direct costs, usually less than $200.00. This reimbursement fee covers a walking survey, permitting, a temporary pen, a bucket trap, dozens of trips to the site to check the traps, feeding and watering the contained tortoises, digging a new starter burrow, follow-ups, etc.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the threatened gopher tortoise.

CLICK HERE to see our tortoise relocation protocol, and to read about some of our success stories.

CLICK HERE to read about entombed gopher tortoises.

PLEASE, when you see one of our signs in a property right-of-way, do not remove it. Please offer our signs the same respect that you expect when you install a sign for your respective real-estate agency. We would never remove yours. Please afford us the same courtesy. Call us if you need us. We’re here to help you.