Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus).
Image: Joel Sartore/National Geographic [larger view].
The photographer writes;
Gopher tortoises in the southeastern U.S. often end up as roadkill. Invasive fire ants and armadillos also prey on their eggs and young, while urban expansion, land conversion for pine plantations, and fire mismanagement degrade tortoise habitat, pushing these reptiles closer to the edge.
Joel Sartore has shared some of his work on this blog before, so I am thrilled to tell you that National Geographic also appreciates his exemplary work. You can view more endangered animals of the United States that were photographed by the talented Joel Sartore here at National Geographic online. All images appear here by permission of National Geographic online.
We always move our neighborhood box turtles off the road when we see them. They are considered rare in this area. We have quite a few. I have also been told not to move them too far and to keep them pointed in the direction they were going. I guess their internal compass is not the best.
I love the contrast in speed captured by that photo.
tabor -- i am so happy to hear that there are people out there who look after the turtles! i know it sounds silly, but these small acts of graciousness and kindness are so important to me. it reminds me that the entire human race is not totally corrupted by short-sightedness and greed as long as some of us do the right thing.
lillian -- yes, isn't that a stunning image? joel sartore is brilliant, and we are so lucky that he and national geographic are so generous with us!
They really are neat animals. Some people are arguing that too much money has already been spent on their conservation =(