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Gopher Tortoise Council

The Gopher Tortoise Council was created in 1978 by a group of biologists and other concerned citizens concerned with the decline of the gopher tortoise. We accomplish this by providing professional, scientific- based advice, grants for research and educational programs, public outreach and advocacy for protection of gopher tortoises, other upland species and their habitat.

Since the Gopher Tortoise Council (GTC) was created, we have supported numerous conservation, education, and research projects focused on gopher tortoises and upland ecosystems. Much progress has been made for tortoise conservation, including the end of legal harvest of tortoises throughout their range, but some threats, such as habitat loss and modification, remain unchanged since the inception of the GTC. In addition, new issues in tortoise conservation have been identified including disease, relocation, and incidental take.

The first and most important component of gopher tortoise conservation is to conserve and manage remaining upland habitat as well as restoring upland habitat that have been degraded. Thinning of pines, prescribed burning, removal of exotic plants and animals, and replanting of native groundcover are all components of appropriate management of gopher tortoise habitat. GTC also promotes education and outreach activities to enhance public awareness of issues related to tortoise conservation, as well as providing information for politicians, land managers, and other decision-makers.

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