Central Florida Skink Research

Blue Tailed SkinkWith funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlands is conducting surveys to establish the presence, distribution, and populations size of Florida sand skinks and bluetail mole skinks on conservation lands of the Lake Wales Ridge, Winter Haven Ridge, and Mt. Dora Ridge in central Florida.

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Conservation Banking

Wildlands partners with private landowners and regulatory agencies to identify lands that are appropriate for conservation banks. Our staff are experts at preparing bank permit applications and work to provide creative and innovative conservation strategies for each property that benefit both the landowner and protected species. Through restoration, land management, conservation easements, and research, Wildlands preserves Florida’s habitats and wildlife.

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Gopher Tortoise License Plate

Wildlands Conservation is working to help create a specialty gopher tortoise license plate in the state of Florida. In order to bring awareness to the plight of the gopher tortoise, we are hoping to create this specialty license plate and propose that the funds generated by the plate be used for gopher tortoise habitat conservation, habitat management, and research. With your help, we can help protect gopher tortoises and their upland habitat.

Specialty license plates have been an essential part of the conservation strategy for other Florida species including the manatee, Florida panther, and sea turtles, and we wish to add the gopher tortoise to this list. The gopher tortoise is a threatened species in the state of Florida, primarily due to 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. 

Inspired by wildlife rehabber Chelsey Vowles, the idea for the plate formed after she witnessed countless gopher tortoises being killed and injured while trying to cross the road. Chelsey’s passion for healing and helping tortoises was the spark necessary to get the license plate started.

Gopher Tortoise License Plate

Wildlands is working with talented conservation illustrator Laurelin Sitterly to create a gopher tortoise license plate design. The Gopher Tortoise Council and Conservation Florida have also provided letters of support for this plate.

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