April 10 has been officially declared Gopher Tortoise Day by the Gopher Tortoise Council.
Several resources are available to help you adopt a Gopher Tortoise Day in your community, including a resolution template, sample press release and sample social media post. You also can find information on hosting a Gopher Tortoise Day event, including educational materials that can be downloaded and distributed at events and in neighborhoods, schools or local government offices. Additional resources include gopher tortoise photos, a video and fun facts that answer common questions about gopher tortoises.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division is counting on people and organizations to help us with conservation of this important species by adopting a Gopher Tortoise Day in your community to increase awareness and appreciation for these long-lived, gentle reptiles. Now is the time to start your planning!
In Alabama, gopher tortoises are state and federally protected and found in the lower third of the state in 23 counties and frequently encountered in neighborhoods, along roadways and on many of the state’s private and public lands.
Gopher tortoises are a keystone species because they dig huge underground burrows that provide refuge for over 360 other species of wildlife called commensals. Among the commensal species sharing its burrows are the gopher frog, Eastern indigo snake and hundreds of invertebrates like beetles and crickets. Without gopher tortoise burrows, many of these species might not survive.
If you have questions about Gopher Tortoise Day, hosting an event, or adopting a resolution, please contact DWFF Nongame Wildlife Program, Ericha Nix, Gopher Tortoise Conservation Coordinator, or call 334-242-3469.