The Gopher Tortoise Council released the following statement on its Facebook page last week:
"The gopher tortoise specialty license plate (SB 364) has been signed into law in Florida!
The plate will fund gopher tortoise research and conservation including upland habitat protection, restoration, and management in Florida. Funds will be distributed to eligible Florida-based scientific, conservation, and educational organizations for the gopher tortoise and upland habitat research, conservation, and management.
Stay tuned for how you can sign up for your presale voucher!"
Specialty license plates have been an essential part of the conservation strategy for other Florida species including the manatee, Florida panther, and sea turtles. The gopher tortoise is a threatened species in the state of Florida, primarily due to the loss of upland habitat. A keystone species, gopher tortoises dig burrows that are used by more than 360 other animal species, including some that live nowhere else.
In Apopka, the City Council voted 5-0 to proclaim April 10th as Gopher Tortoise Day - following suit with many other cities and southeastern states.
In the proclamation, it states:
"The goal of Gopher Tortoise Day is to increase awareness and appreciation for these long-lived, gentle reptiles. In Florida, gopher tortoises are in all 67 counties, frequently encountered in neighborhoods, roadways, and many of Florida's public parks and forests. There are celebrations and events in other cities and at Florida State Parks to build awareness, learn about tortoises, hear their stories of survival, and get an up-close look at this fascinating threatened species."
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the state offers over 100 different specialty license plates for various organizations in support of the causes they represent. The money raised from the sale of these license plates goes directly to the organization. Since the inception of the specialty license plate, millions of dollars have been raised for the organizations.
When it comes available, see current pre-sale data here.
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