This handbook is the first book on tortoise management and research techniques that can be applied to any species. It is designed to be the manual that can serve for certification for various institutions and State and Federal agencies. Many tricks of the trade on how to count burrows, excavate, and trap tortoises are given based on the 20 years of experience of the Ashtons. No other publication currently exists that brings together all the methods and techniques for tortoise management which can be used with other tortoises and turtles. Students and environmental consultants working with gopher tortoises and other upland species will find this handbook indispensable.
Ray E. Ashton, Jr. and Patricia S. Ashton have published more than 125 articles on reptiles and amphibians, and are the authors of the three-volume Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida. They have created some of the most complex and complete management programs for tortoises and other upland species including Florida burrowing owls. Pat Ashton is a field biologist that began her studies of tortoise foraging in the 1970's with Walter Auffenberg. Her new innovative ways of observing tortoises foraging has shed a whole new light on the complexity of their habitat and how to establish carrying capacity. Ray Ashton is now serving his second term on the IUCN Turtle and Tortoise Advisory Group, and is now a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Group with the Florida Wildlife Commission working to develop long-term management of extremely endangered tortoises worldwide. During the past 35 years he has served as Chairman of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR), Conservation, Liaison Committee with Regional Societies, and Liaison Committee with Zoos. He has served several terms as the co-chair of the Gopher Tortoise Council, Chairperson for the Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals (FCREPA), and as FCREPA Series Editor (Rare and Endangered Biota Series, University of Florida Press). The Ashtons Biodiversity Research & Preservation Institute, Inc. teaches professional level courses on field techniques to researchers, agency officials and land managers. ABRPI co-hosted the International Roundtable on Chelonian Relocation and Assurance Colonies and The Role of Local Government in Protecting Wildlife, both ground breaking conferences that lead to much of this books recommendations on how relocation and economics of tortoise conservation can work. The ABRPI is the parent of the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Initiative which began the massive effort to educate and mobilize the citizens, governments, and other conservation groups into changing the policies of the FWC before the tortoise became endangered. The Ashton's current studies include ongoing research into chelonian ultrasound communication, long-term results of tortoise relocation and to begin the efforts to change tortoise conservation in the states where the Fish and Wildlife Service manages tortoises since they are federally listed.
Dedication; Introduction; Acknowledgements; Part 1; The Natural History of the Gopher Tortoise; Chapter 1 Natural History and Biology; Chapter 2 Natural History of Gopher Tortoise Burrows; Chapter 3 Habitat and Foraging; Part 2; Management Methods; Chapter 4 Handling and Care of Captive Tortoises; Chapter 5 Plant Surveys, Monitoring and Forage Management; Chapter 6 Burrow Surveys and Population Evaluation; Chapter 7 Capturing Tortoises; Chapter 8 Safe Excavation of Tortoise Burrows; Chapter 9 Land Management for Gopher Tortoises; Chapter 10 Gopher Tortoise Relocation Methods and Management.
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