The St. Joe Company (NYSE:JOE), Northwest Florida’s leading residential and commercial property developer, and The St. Joe Community Foundation have signed an agreement with The Humane Society of the United States, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Freeport based Nokuse Plantation to support the relocation and rehabilitation of the Gopher Tortoise, one of Florida’s threatened species.
Gopher Tortoise (Photo Courtesy of Matt Aresco/Nokuse Plantation)
The Gopher Tortoise is unique in the way it creates its home. While most tortoises simply shelter under vegetation, the Gopher Tortoise digs and creates extensive burrows, typically up to 30 ft. These burrows are important habitats for not just the Gopher Tortoise but for other species of wildlife that share or use them too – including burrowing owls, frogs, lizards, rabbits and snakes. Many of these habitats are now threatened and the project aims to relocate more than 2000 tortoises over the next three years. Park Brady, CEO of The St. Joe Company said: “Gopher tortoises are an important part of an environmental ecosystem in Northwest Florida. They build homes that support and encourage up to 350 other species of wildlife. At St. Joe we also see it as our responsibility to encourage and promote communities, so we are proud to support this worthwhile venture.” The St. Joe Company has a long history of responsible stewardship of the land and environment in Northwest Florida. The St. Joe Community Foundation provides vital funds to support this effort. “The Foundation assists in funding non-profit organizations to protect, improve or educate the community on the environment or environmental issues,” said Janet Greeno, Executive Director of The St. Joe Community Foundation. “Our donation of $150,000 to The Humane Society of United States will support and enable the responsible collection and relocation of gopher tortoises to designated sanctuaries.”