Officials Warn Over The Danger In Painting Tortoises
Florida wildlife officials took to social media to demonstrate the harm spray painting a tortoise causes after finding a blue-painted tortoise in Tallahassee.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posted a picture to their Facebook showing a tortoise found by Officers Cobo and Morrow that was all-blue. The officers were responding to a residential property after a call came in reporting an injured turtle.
The all-blue tortoise had been colored with blue spray-paint said the FWC.
“It is both illegal and very harmful to the health of a gopher tortoise to paint any part of their body or shell,” the FWC said in their Facebook post. “Paint can inhibit their ability to absorb vitamins from the sun’s UV rays through their shells, has the potential to cause respiratory problems and can lead to harmful chemicals being absorbed into their bloodstream.”
“Further, removing the paint without harming the tortoise is a challenge,” the Facebook post said. “Fortunately, the tortoise was taken to an animal rehabilitation facility for paint removal, where it recovered and was eventually released back to its burrow with a slight blue hue.”
Back in December 2015 the Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge & Education Center shared photos of two gopher tortoises that had been “vandalized” by pranksters with paint.
Tortoises are listed as Threatened in Florida and are a protected species.
According to the FWC gopher tortoise rules and regulations page, ” No person shall take, attempt to take, pursue, hunt, harass, capture, possess, sell or transport any gopher tortoise or parts thereof or their eggs, or molest, damage, or destroy gopher tortoise burrows, except as authorized by Commission permit or when complying with Commission approved guidelines for specific actions which may impact gopher tortoises and their burrows.”
If anyone sees or suspects someone of a wildlife violation report it to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Reward Program at 888-404-FWCC, 24-hours a day or online.