In the midst of the excitement over the manatee downlisting being delayed, Floridians seem to have missed other state wildlife agency decision making — namely, gopher tortoises and bald eagles.
People who want to develop land where gopher tortoises live won’t be allowed to buy permits to bury the tortoises alive anymore and must relocate them. Their status is also going to be “uplisted” from species of special concern to threatened (one step down from endangered). Some tortoise advocates, though, are concerned the rule to relocate tortoises won’t be as effective in small parcels of land that are being developed, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. One tortoise expert in the article says the state’s new laws about developing tortoise habitat are too vague and that the state will probably have trouble enforcing the new rules when it comes to individual lots.
The state wildlife agency also approved the draft of a new management plan for bald eagles that takes them off the state endangered list altogether — if approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The bald eagle would continue to be protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the FWC said.