Gopher tortoises are a threatened wildlife species and are protected by state law, Chapter 68A-27, Florida Administrative Code. Gopher tortoises must be relocated before any land clearing or development takes place, and property owners must obtain permits from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission before they can move them. For more information about permitting guidelines or the laws protecting gopher tortoises please contact the gopher tortoise biologist in your region.
Rules and regulations are in place to benefit both the species and the people. We've included rules that relate to the gopher tortoise along with brief descriptions of those rules.
Rule 68A-27.003: The gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is hereby declared to be threatened, and shall be afforded the protective provisions specified in this paragraph. No person shall take, attempt to take, pursue, hunt, harass, capture, possess, sell or transport any gopher tortoise or parts thereof or their eggs, or molest, damage, or destroy gopher tortoise burrows, except as authorized by Commission permit or when complying with Commission approved guidelines for specific actions which may impact gopher tortoises and their burrows. A gopher tortoise burrow is a tunnel with a cross-section that closely approximates the shape of a gopher tortoise. Permits will be issued based upon whether issuance would further management plan goals and objectives.
Wildlife Alert Reward program
It is against the law to kill, harass or destroy gopher tortoises, their eggs or burrows. If you suspect a wildlife law violation, report it to the FWC's Wildlife Alert Reward Program at 888-404-FWCC, 24-hours a day or online. You could be eligible for a reward if your information leads to an arrest.