Sherri Fields of Punta Gorda, FL is a Hero. After cohabiting with an increasing number of gopher tortoises and their burrow, she was horrified to discover city works destroying these tortoises’ peaceful habitat, even if it was unintended.This woman took the ‘see something, say something’ philosophy we tout so often these days,and used it to protect her non human neighbors. While she sadly points out that it will not save those whose burrows have already been affected, she has done much to bring attention to the innocent, state protected, bystanders being harmed by this clean up attempt. Garnering media attention and alerting the city, she’s most definitely on the tortoise ‘nice’ list for her efforts. To that I give Sherri a high five and hope that we all take a tip from her actions, keeping an eye out for all our shelled friends… in and out of the water.
Read the article below and click the source to view the news video of Sherri and her neighborhood tortoises in action.
PUNTA GORDA, Fl. – Sherri Fileds has lived in this neighborhood for 20 years. One thing she loves, sharing the property with the burrowing wildlife.
“These turtles have taken over the end of this creek bank and there are a lot of turtles here and this has been their safety zone for 20 years,” she says.
It’s why she was so upset Monday when she saw the place these state protcted tortoises live torn up.
“Look at how they left this…. I mean this looks like a war zone here… this area didn’t look this bad when hurricane Charley came through,” she adds.
County Public Worls crews say they were doing maintencance work and clearing the area so heavy rains wouldn’t cause drainage backups.
“Any kind of commercial, industrial, residential development you have to abide by the regulations. there is a whole series of them,” says retired consulting ecologist, Nigel Morris.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say, gopher tortoises are supposed to be relocated before any land clearing or development can take place. But public works officials say, they didn’t know there were nests here. They have stopped the job and removed their eqitment. They are alos bring in an environmentalist to survey the area for burrows.
“I know going forward this may help other gopher turtles… but it’s not helping the ones that are dying today,” Fields adds.