World Turtle News, 01/07/2018
Former New-Yorker Transforms His Homesite Into A Haven For Gopherus polyphemus
Deep in the backwoods of Cape Coral, Florida, lies one gem of an oasis. This might not appear impressive or awe-inspiring at first glance, but this inconspicuous piece of property is a haven for Gopherus polyphemus, thanks to one man’s passion and non-stop dedication to the preservation of this species and their critical habitat. Rick Aliperti owns and lives in this special location, but this was not always the case. A native New-Yorker, he soon tired of the constant noise and traffic and made the decision to relocate to Cape Coral Florida, in order to enjoy the tranquil suburban lifestyle. What he did not realize was that he would be entering prime Gopherus polyphemus territory. Fortunately, Aliperti expressed great enthusiasm for the conservation of his resident tortoises and quickly purchased the adjoining property in order to protect their carefully constructed burrows. His goals include maintaining the property and allowing it to retain it’s natural characteristics. Next door to his property lies 50 acres of city-owned land know as the Oasis Woods, and in the future, he plans to purchase more land with the purpose of connecting both properties. Aliperti also hopes to create a nature park out of his land and to promote educational programs for children as well as walking paths. The “Tortoise Guy”, as he is now affectionately known, is paving the way for the conservation of our native chelonians which are plunging down the path of extinction.
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Photo from Ricardo Rolon .