FWC Officials Urge Caution When Releasing Turtles Into the Ocean

April 7, 2015 1:09 AM

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Mistaken for sea turtles that live well in water, gopher tortoises have reportedly been released into the ocean. This act by some well-meaning Floridians has been endangering the land reptile. According to a report by The Washington Times, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) said that there have been at least three reported cases where good Samaritans incorrectly released gopher hatchlings into the ocean. The reptiles drowned soon after the release because they cannot swim. The FWC has requested Floridians to carefully examine turtles before putting them in water.

The FWC officials are trying to educate people on how the gopher tortoise is different from sea turtles. While it may be difficult to tell them apart, one can differentiate the two reptiles by examining the feet. The gopher has toes with claws for digging on the sand. Sea turtles on the other hand h...

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