Saving the gentle giant -Sonoran Desert Tortoise

Sonoran Desert Tortoise

Sonoran Desert Tortoise

Two environmental groups WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project have joined forces to petition the federal government for endangered status to be given to the Sonoran Desert Tortoise, Gopherus agassizii. When listed as endangered it would become illegal for anyone to take them.
The petition sites many threats that may be contributing to the tortoise decline including disease, livestock grazing, mining, urban sprawl, use of off-road vehicles, border patrol activities, and a lack of adequate legal protections. Extended drought caused by climate change is an additional threat. Biologists fear that human activities combined with environmental stress may be increasing susceptibility to two diseases that are now becoming increasingly common among Sonoran desert tortoise populations.

If listed under the Endangered Species Act,  the Sonoran Desert Tortoises would be protected. Killing and harassment of individual tortoises would bring legal penalties. Tortoises if discovered in the wild should not be  handled or molested. If threatened the animal will evacuate its bladder to try to defend itself and that will put the tortoise at risk of dehydration in a very  dry arid hot desert areas.

Mother Nature thanks  WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project for defending wildlife in the western United States.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia


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