An important step was taken today directed toward protecting desert tortoises at the Nevada National Security Site (formerly the Nevada Test Site). Sixty juvenile desert tortoises were released in an undisturbed area on the southern end of the Site. The animals came from the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center (DTCC) in Las Vegas. The DTCC is managed by the San Diego Zoo for conservation research for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
The desert tortoises are fitted with special radio tracking devices so their movements can be studied. Among benefits of the study:
Under the Endangered Species Act, the USFWS lists the desert tortoise as “threatened”. This project is a joint effort of the NNSA/NSO (Nevada National Security Site), San Diego Zoo, USFWS, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Biological Survey. Video of the release today, and interviews with participants, are available for unrestricted use on YouTube at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9h4eDUL4Q0
or watch the video below.