Don't bury turtles for development's sake

Published: Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 11:05 p.m.
Let me get this straight. Joseph Narkiewicz, Tampa Bay Builders Association, thinks gopher tortoise protection adds to the "cost of development and makes site selection difficult." Possibly true.
But the current solution is to bury the animals and pay into a "land bank" which is poorly managed and basically dysfunctional. The slide to extinction continues in the real world.
So, let's not give the animals the protection they merit, regardless of all those data in peer-reviewed scientific publications. I mean, if tortoises have already lost most of their habitat, why not just let the developers and all the other big-headed bipeds have the rest. We are the chosen, are we not?
Tortoises don't vote or pay taxes, after all, the criteria of worth in our conservative society. And those scientists with their distributional and demographic data, not to mention their mathematical models, are probably liberals anyway. Easy to dismiss.
But I have a challenge to Narkiewicz. Let's get a large gentle tortoise, maybe a 60 year old female, put her in a hole, and completely bury her alive. And let's do it with a TV crew and photographers to record the event. Then we can all explain how necessary it is, and how suffocation in sand is the price to pay for personal happiness.
Then Narkiewicz and the rest of us can go home, and watch the tape with our children, mothers and grandmothers. It's all so simple clean to speak from a nice air-conditioned Tampa office. In the real world, however, one shouldn't talk the talk if they are not willing to personally do the deed.
So, people, where do you want to bury your next old tortoise?
C. Kenneth Dodd, Jr., Gainesville

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