U.S. Army Wants to Relocate 1,100+ Endangered Desert Tortoises

mojave desert tortoise photo

Photo: Wikipedia, CC
This Could Push Them Closer to Extinction
The U.S. Army wants to expand training operations at Ft. Irwin in the Mojave Desert, but one unusual armored foe is standing in their way: Endangered desert tortoises. The Army has asked the federal Bureau of Land Management for approval to move 1,100 tortoises. But considering how well it went the last time they tried to move the tortoises, I think this probably isn't such a good idea...
mojave desert tortoise photo

Photo: Wikipedia, Public domain
The Last Time They Tried This, Mortality Rate Was Very High
From the L.A. Times: "The Army relocated more than 600 of the animals last year but suspended the $8.7-million program after the first phase when officials noted high mortality rates among the tortoises, chiefly because of coyotes."

"Nothing's ever been done on this scale before," said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, who says a total of 252 tortoises have died in the translocation area. "Every time the animals recognize that they don’t know where they are, they have some built-in mechanism that tells them to head for home and they make a break for home."

Not only that, but the Army wants to move the threatened animals to an area of the Mojave that has been ravaged by drought recently, making survival even harder.

The desert tortoise population is already declining fast, it doesn't need this new problem. "Desert tortoise populations in some areas have declined by as much as 90% since the 1980s and the Mojave population is listed as threatened. It is unlawful to touch, harm, harass or collect wild desert tortoises."

Via L.A. Times
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