Gopher Tortoise Conservation: There’s an App for That

Gopher tortoise
Gopher tortoise populations are decreasing in Florida. In response, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched an app that documents the location of the elusive species.
Image Credit: Randy Browning, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The next time you find yourself in Florida in search of the elusive gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), you can whip out your smart phone and download “Florida Gopher Tortoise” — a free app that identifies gopher locations in the state.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched the app in April last year and is urging people to download it and participate. As part of the app, participants take pictures of gopher tortoises and record their locations. The FWC then adds it to an interactive map. Florida’s gopher tortoise population is decreasing for a number of reasons including loss of habitat and nest predation. The FWC hopes including citizen scientists through the app will give them a better idea of their habitat and location in Florida. Read more at WPTV West Palm Beach.