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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Turtle Tracking

Turtle Tracking

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, February 5, 2020/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, sustainability, environment, adventure

Desert Tortoise (credit: National Park Service)

The Desert Tortoise inhabits the California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah deserts and it is in trouble. In 1920, 1000 tortoises existed per square mile in the Mojave desert and 70 years later they were on the endangered species list, The slow-moving animals had lived successfully in their desert habitats for millions of years. Several active efforts are now underway to reverse their decline.

Joshua Tree National Park in California has established a program to better understand the status of the tortoise, its ecology, and how populations can be rebuilt in the Park's arid environment. Working with volunteers and non-profit organizations, park managers began an initiative to monitor tortoise behavior by tracking turtles tagged with small radio-transmitters. The batteries will last three years and provide valuable data that couldn't be acquired otherwise. There is even a cell phone application that you can use to help the researchers identify tortoises you might encounter while on a desert hike. Other parks and reserves allow individuals to "adopt a tortoise" by making a donation or becoming a sponsor. Funds go directly to purchasingmore  tracking devises to monitor more animals.
You could also consider joining the Turtle Conservancy which maintains turtle and tortoise conservation programs around the world.

                  
       Desert Tortoise Radio Tracking (credit: National Park Service & Institute for Wildlife Studies)

A video shows what dedicated volunteers and park managers can accomplish in the conservation of this iconic desert animals. Collaboration is the key.



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