By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
The fight isn’t completely over. On July 2, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a federal lawsuit against the Army and the Bureau of Land Management over Fort Irwin’s expansion and translocation of tortoises, the first stage of which the center has called “disastrous.”
In its announcement, the center says, “Though we can’t stop the Fort’s expansion, we can ensure that the relocation of these rare animals is done right. With the severity of the impacts to the tortoise from the expansion, it’s imperative that the Army’s mitigation be as successful as possible. ... This spring’s relocated tortoises suffered devastating initial mortality from predators: Within days more than 20 tortoises had been killed by coyotes. Healthy tortoises were also moved into areas where diseased tortoises live, which is in direct conflict with the recommendations of epidemiologists. The lands into which the tortoises were moved are far poorer habitat because of numerous roads, illegal off-road vehicle routes, houses, illegal dumping and mines. (This is why the area currently supports a low number of existing desert tortoise, some of which are diseased.) Subsequent phases of the relocation effort will involve over 1,000 tortoises, although relocation sites have yet to be identified.”
The center says the relocation efforts could be improved by reducing the number of tortoises being moved, ensuring only healthy tortoises are moved into healthy populations, providing predator protection and improving the habitat quality of relocation areas by making them tortoise preserves.
Meanwhile, I wonder if old number 166.614 2554 has found his home.
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