World Turtle News, 07/04/2018
Funded Partnership Seeks To Gain Valuable Population Data Through Head-Starting Program
A multi-organizational partnership is well on it’s way to being the one of the most successful Gopherus agassizii conservation programs in North America. The San Diego Zoo Global conservationists, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Edwards Air Force Base, Cadiz, Inc., and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have joined forces to initiate a headstarting program for G. agassizii with the additional goal of tracking the released juveniles in order to collect valuable data regarding their movements and habits. All this has been made possible by California Energy Commission, who has generously funded this important project. Human encroachment on Desert Tortoise habitat is an unfortunate reality, and the main focus needs to be implementing solutions so that both humans and wildlife can live together inn harmony. The eggs of thirty G. agassizii were collected from radio-tracked females, after which the eggs were placed in incubators. Upon a successful hatching, the neonates will be raised until they are between six and eighteen months of age before they are released back into their native habitat. A portion of the hatchlings will be released into a different area, with the purpose of comparing their survival and habits in two contrasting ecosystems. With increased knowledge of the habitat requirements of juvenile tortoises, scientists will be better equipped to develop successful programs to conserve this species which is in significant decline across the state of California.
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Photo from Gidget Fuentes.