Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Suzi Mersmann, Sierra Stiles and Erica Nix, all members of the Gopher Tortoise Council (below), were on the Court Square Sunday afternoon introducing youngsters to a gopher tortoise in an effort to raise awareness of the reptile. Gopher tortoises are land turtles that shelter in long, single-entry burrows they construct themselves. Because these burrows provide homes to many other animals, the gopher tortoise is often referred to as a “keystone” species. Biologists have discovered that gopher tortoise numbers are declining, due to habitat loss and fragmentation, disease and road mortality.