APOPKA, Fla. -

Rescuers dug up more than a dozen gopher tortoises at risk of being buried and trapped underground because of future construction.

The Humane Society and Nokuse Plantation worked together Sunday to save an estimated 20-25 gopher tortoises.

According to The Humane Society, The Meadows at Maudehelen in Orange County was permitted under the state's former incidental take policy to build above the animals in their burrows.

The developer chose to work with The HSUS to rescue the gopher tortoises prior to construction. 

On Sunday, crews carefully dug up the animals and moved them to a new home in a protected preserve.