Monday, April 20, 2009

Florida Felons Report: Killing a Tortoise

Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Just about in my own backyard.

"On Saturday, April 4, Theodore Cuyler Jr., (DOB 02/13/67) of 6707 Carovel Ave., North Port, loaded "Speedy," as the Gopher Tortoise was locally known, into his van - over the loud objections of residents on Calera Street."

The sorry piece of human refuse, thought he could get away with stealing and killing an endangered tortoise, but he didn't count on the determined and combined efforts of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Bob O'Horo and North Port police officers Shawn Rice and Mike Laden.

"Wading through the maggot-filled trash, officers found gopher tortoise parts, consisting of skin, feet and claws, which indicated that at least one gopher tortoise had been dismembered."

They proceeded to arrest Cuyler and the case is now in the hands of the state courts.

"Gopher tortoises are considered a keystone species, because their deep burrows are important to the survival of more than 130 other species that call Southwest Florida home. Gopher tortoises are listed by the state as a threatened species. Intentionally killing a threatened species is punishable as a third-degree felony, with a fine of up to $5,000 and/or five years in prison."

The full report can be found here at: North Port man arrested for killing imperiled gopher tortoise.


native said...

Boy how things have changed in Florida since I was a youngster Albert.
I remember the Gopher Turtles den's were so big (because the turtles were just that large, 25-30 lbs.) that we kids could climb down into them.

I now hear that it is unusual to see even one which weighs 10 lbs.

What was this nincompoop thinking?

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that some people just don't use that things that rests between their shoulders.
I'm glad he was caught.