Spatial effects of translocation on gopher tortoises in southeast Georgia
Paden, Lance Michael
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Modified recreational GPS loggers were used to monitor movements of 18 translocated and 20 resident adult gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) at a southeastern Georgia Wildlife Management Area. Our objective was to determine if home range size differed between sex and residency status. Stationary GPS loggers within tortoise burrows produced a Mean Linear Error of 17.32-72.42m with error corresponding to depth underground. In total, 146,118 successful GPS fixes (x̅ = 3,845, range = 493-9,422 per tortoise) were collected in 20 months. There was no difference in resident and translocate home range after penning for 7 and 14 months. Post-penning 95% k-LoCoH mean home ranges were as follows: translocated males= 8.60ha (n = 6), translocated females= 2.64ha (n = 9), resident males=1.84ha (n = 6), resident females= 1.11ha (n = 8). Translocates had larger home ranges throughout the cumulative study than residents. Surprisingly, no difference was observed between sexes using GPS data.