Army declares war on endangered reptiles to make room for war games
Scientists have begun moving the Mojave Desert’s flagship species, the desert tortoise, to make room for tank training at the Army’s Fort Irwin despite protests by conservationists.
The controversial project, billed as the largest desert tortoise move in California history, involves transferring 770 endangered reptiles from Army land to a dozen public plots overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Army said it needs an extra 131,000 acres to accommodate faster tanks and longer-range weapons used each month to train some 4,000 troops.
Desert tortoises are the longest-living reptiles in the Southwest with a potential life span of 100 years and can weigh up to 15 pounds. Their population has been threatened in recent years by urbanization, disease and predators including the raven.
And now by the BIGGEST threat of all — the U.S. Army.
I don’t think our state and federal governments care much for their wild citizens.
Just last week the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service took the gray wolf off the endangered species list so Montana, Wyoming and Idaho can raise revenue by selling licenses to hunt them.
And now the U.S. Army is using tanks to move endangered reptiles out of their normal range and into a new location where they’ll be placed in jeopardy by the stressful effects of the relocation in addition to off-road vehicles and illegal dumping.
Does this mean the U.S. Army is now an official part of the local ecosystem? Do tanks eat cactus flowers?
That’s scary. /Gary
THERE’S MORE ON DESERT TORTOISES AT: