Gophers find a new home on Eglin


A gopher tortoise waits to begin exploring its new home deep within the Eglin Air Force Base range Oct. 26, 2018. The first of more than 250 tortoises were released into their 100-acre habitat after being relocated from their south Florida home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.)

HOLT, Fla., June 17, 2019—As “Home of the Gophers,” any gopher news is Holt news.

Eglin Air Force Base’s Jackson Guard relocated 1,030 gopher tortoises last year in an effort to help keep the reptile from being listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The gophers were released into a 100-acre habitat after being moved from their previous home in south Florida.

Increasing the gopher tortoise population here could prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the species on the Threatened and Endangered Species list.

The Jackson Guard is Eglin’s award-winning natural resources management and has been recognized by the Secretary of Defense with the 2019 Natural Resources Conservation Award in part for its tortoise relocation program.

The 2019 award is the fourth Defense Department award for Eglin’s Natural Resources Management Branch in nine years.

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