by Ron Berger

The Mojave Desert Tortoise’s population has declined by 90% in some areas and is listed as ‘threatened’. The environment is not responsible for their decline. Nor are they inexperienced at breeding. My wife and I

are blessed to have a 72 year old female on our property who twice in recent years has produced 12 healthy babies. No, the Desert Tortoise is threatened by man. Their natural populations have been decimated by development, habitat destruction and fragmentation, and other human-caused threats including chemical and hormonal pollution, invasive alien species, and various illnesses due to introduced pathogens, such as the upper respiratory tract disease. Conservation International’s President, Russell Mittermeier says: “Turtles have been around since before many dinosaurs walked the planet and have survived relatively unchanged for about 250 million years, but mankind’s actions have brought them to the brink of extinction. It’s our responsibility to bring them back.”

Together, we can turn this situation around, and insure that these wonderful, gentle, harmless animals recover, prosper, and are one day no longer threatened. Our idea is simple and straight-forward: If you own a piece of undeveloped property in California, Nevada, Arizona or Utah conducive to the tortoise, donate it to The Desert Tortoise Conservancy. We will clean and fence it. If not already populated by tortoises, we’ll work with the appropriate agencies to populate it.

In the years ahead, we will acquire, develop and maintain appropriate parcels, work with the established tortoise adoption centers to heighten awareness and education, and work to establish temporary and permanent safe environments for displaced animals.

The tortoise of fable won his race with the hare. And with your help, the desert tortoise can win this race as well.

For additional information, please contact us at 760-320-0486 or 503-522-6611. To make a donation, please send to: The Desert Tortoise Conservancy, Inc., P.O. Box 4131, Palm Springs, CA 92263.