provided to The Santiva Chronicle
The current real estate boom on Sanibel has brought many new residents to our island. One special new resident has chosen the Sanibel Historical Village as its new home – a gopher tortoise. Sanibel’s Natural Resource Department conducted the gopher tortoise relocation from City Hall grounds to the preserve at the back of the Historical Village.
The female tortoise had dug a burrow in the right-of-way by the City Hall exit and was undermining the roadway. In the interest of safety for the tortoise and to preserve the integrity of the road, the city obtained a permit from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to relocate the tortoise.
“We are required by the permit to relocate the tortoise on-site and the gopher tortoise preserve at the Historical Village is the best and safest option,” commented Holly Milbrandt, Sanibel Natural Resources Director.
April 10 has been officially adopted by the Gopher Tortoise Council as Gopher Tortoise Day. In Florida, gopher tortoises are found in parts of all 67 counties and are frequently encountered in neighborhoods, along roadways, and in many of Florida’s public parks and forests.
“Working collaboratively with the City was a wonderful synergy. The tortoise has settled right into our Historical Village just in time to celebrate Gopher Tortoise Day,” noted Sanibel Historical Village Executive Director, Emilie Alfino.
The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Full guided tours take place at 10:30 and 1:30 depending on docent availability, and advance reservations are not required. There is no additional fee for these tours. The Village is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIG ARTS) and there is handicap access. Admission is $10 for adults over 18. Members and children are free. The village has handicap access to all but one building, the tiny Post Office. For more information, call (239) 472-4648 during museum hours or visit the museum’s website.