Tortoise deaths in Florida – 11/10/2005

  • November 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm #1082

    Hi All
    Here is a statement that rings loud and true~”””This is not a
    typical mortality of an adult tortoise population and one
    intuitively thinks that disease is a factor,”””
    Do everything you can to raise awareness regarding Aerosol Spraying
    aka Chemtrails.

    Email or write you state Senators and Representatives expressing you
    absolute and deep concern regarding S.517 and HR 2995. These Bill
    are titled “weather modification”.

    Since this operation began in earnest in the fall of 1998, all
    varieties of illness and health anomalies (I am being factual in
    saying deaths) have jumped far beyond what anyone could consider

    Do anything, today, to raise awareness and make your voice heard.
    Heaven help us all,

    Dozens of dead tortoises discovered in state forest
    Biologists think that a respiratory infection might have killed
    about 50 gopher tortoises.
    By DAN DeWITT, Times Staff Writer
    Published November 9, 2005

    Forestry workers roaming the Withlacoochee State Forest to look for
    trees suitable for harvest have come upon something far more grim:
    the shells of about 50 newly dead gopher tortoises.
    Though such “die-offs” are not uncommon, this one has been dramatic
    enough to attract the attention of state biologists, who are
    planning to visit the forest to investigate the cause, probably next

    “The bottom line is, we’re always concerned when we find a large
    number of dead animals,” said Joan Berish, a state Fish and Wildlife
    Conservation Commission researcher who specializes in gopher

    So far, the dead tortoises have only been found in less than a
    square mile of the forest just north of Stage Coach Trail in Citrus
    County, in the Citrus Tract, said Vince Morris, an ecologist at the
    state Division of Forestry office north of Brooksville.

    The number of dead could easily be larger because the workers have
    only looked in a 480-acre area designated for the timber sale, and
    because they have been looking primarily for marketable trees, not
    tortoises, he said.

    The Citrus Tract spreads into northern Hernando County, and it is
    possible that tortoises there could be affected by the disease, if
    that turns out to be the cause of the deaths.
    Though neither Morris nor Berish know for sure, the leading suspect
    is an upper respiratory infection caused by mycoplasma, a type of

    “This is not a typical mortality of an adult tortoise population and
    one intuitively thinks that disease is a factor,” Berish said.
    “But until we study it, it is premature to speculate on the cause.”
    Gopher tortoises are classified as a “species of special concern,”
    not because they are especially rare, Morris said, but because
    development is rapidly destroying their habitat and because many
    other species depend on their abandoned burrows for shelter.
    Mycoplasma often flares up suddenly after infected tortoises are
    introduced to a previously healthy population. One of the most
    common ways for that to happen is by well-meaning residents, Morris
    and Berish said, which is not only ill-advised, but illegal.
    People understandably want to rescue tortoises that, for example,
    live on land that is about to be developed, and then drop the
    animals off on state land, Morris said. That not only risks
    transmitting disease, he said, but usually does nothing to protect
    the animal.

    Most areas of natural, public land are supporting as many tortoises
    as the habitat allows. When tortoises perceive that their habitat is
    becoming overcrowded, Morris said, “other gophers will kick them out
    of their territory. And usually it is the new one that gets

    “You don’t dump any members of a species into any area that already
    has a dense population without having a big impact,” Berish
    said. “It would be like somebody dumping 300 refugees in your
    neighborhood. It would have a big impact on your quality of life.”
    Berish may be among the group of naturalists that visits the area
    next week. Besides determining the cause of the deaths, they will
    examine the tortoise remains to determine how recently they have
    died and whether the disease is still present in the population.
    For research reasons, she said, they hope to find a tortoise that
    is “moribund, on death’s door, unfortunate as that is. We could then
    take it back to the lab, euthanize it and perform a necropsy,”
    Berish said.
    [Last modified November 9, 2005, 18:56:02

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