The Gopher Tortoise, A Keystone Species

Category: Outdoor Scenes


Photo and caption by Amanda Hipps

As an undergraduate student at the University of North Florida, I am working on a research project, alongside my professor, with these magnificent animals. In Florida, gopher tortoises are currently listed as a threatened species. Their numbers continue to drop, primarily, due to habitat loss. Gopher tortoises are considered to be a keystone species; 360 other species of animals live most or all of their lives in the gopher tortoise burrows. It is our hope to conserve them, and therefore, all other animals that reside in this same habitat.

Location: Jacksonville, Florida


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