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gopher tortoise

Gopher Tortoises Get New Digs

Updated Mon October 20, 2014

gopher tortoise

You might not think of Georgia-Pacific as a place where manufacturing and Mother Nature co-exist, but more often than not, we’re neighbors to some amazing wildlife. And when it comes to their well-being, we always want to go the extra mile.  Recently, our Cedar Springs, Georgia, facility dug up an opportunity to do just that for several gopher tortoises on the mill’s property.

A gopher tortoise may be one of the most obliging animals.  When they dig their burrows it not only becomes protection from predators and a site for laying eggs, but it also provides shelter for other species – creating the animal kingdom’s version of a boarding house.  However, these tortoises are endangered, making their protection a top priority.

When facility employees recognized that construction activity was coming close to some gopher tortoise burrows, they quickly jumped into action and ensured these noble creatures made it to nice, new digs.  After scouting the area, a crew carefully searched and excavated the burrows.  They explored the tunnels by inserting a two-inch plastic pipe into the hole until it reached the end, then used a backhoe and shovel to carefully open the burrows and retrieve the tortoises.

In the end, the crew was able to find and meticulously unearth six gopher tortoises, which were then carried to their new homes. Helping these creatures was both slow and steady – a work ethic we can only assume was appreciated by the tortoises!

It is Georgia-Pacific’s goal to continue protecting wildlife habitats whenever possible. Participating in the Wildlife at Work program is one way we work toward this end, with four of our facilities receiving certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council for their wildlife habitat management.

Did you know?: The number of concentric rings on a tortoise’s shell, much like the cross-section of a tree, can sometimes give a clue to how old it is!

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