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Tortoise Survey
Helping Tortoises...

Gopher Tortoises are one of the most important species to the southern long-leaf pine and sand-hill habitat. Their burrows are utilized as shelter by hundreds of species including Eastern Indigo Snakes, owls, rabbits, and many others.

Less than 1.5% of the original long-leaf pine habitat is left in the southeast. General Coffee State Park, in Georgia, is currently removing planted oak and allowing the original long-leaf pines to reforest itself. Surveys of populations of Gopher Tortoises are being taken before, during, and after the reforestation.

Every year BW Smith and I volunteer for the General Coffee Gopher Tortoise Survey. We lead groups of amateur naturalists, boy scouts, and herpers into areas on the state park in Georgia populated by Gopher Tortoises. We catch, mark, and release the Tortoises. We also mark and map the tortoise burrows, and we use an infra-red night vision camera to view and record what species are using the burrows.

We also do free talks, displays or presentations for all campers on the park, the volunteers and staff (usually at least 100 people) on local reptiles and conservation while we are there.


The data we collect is used by the Department of Natural Resources to monitor the reaction of the tortoise populations to the reforestation for future projects in other areas.

Thanks to General Coffee State Park for providing campsites, electricity and clean restrooms and showers.

Thanks also to Red Rock Biologics for providing all the gear we need!

If you would like to donate so that we can continue to volunteer for this project, click below...



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My Book

I got your book in a flash! Todd Poole got one at the Herp. Symposium at Riverbanks that I missed due to the weather. He shared his with me, and it had such useful info. in it, that I wanted one right away. I am doing a program on March 1 and wanted to show it to the participants.

Thanks again,
Barbara Foster
Curator of Reptiles
Greenville Zoo


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