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U.S. Army attacks endangered desert tortoises

By Gary Bogue
Friday, April 4th, 2008 at 6:06 am in Desert Tortoises, Ecosystem.

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


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5 Responses to “U.S. Army attacks endangered desert tortoises”

  1. laila Says:

    It’s too bad our government and so called ‘leadership’ has such failing grades at eco-stewardship. This news is very depressing, but it does not suprise me. I hope that more and more of us will participate in rallies, petitions, and will write letters and make phone calls of protest to our lacking leadership.

  2. lonna richmond Says:

    this is new to me. is there any thing we can do to prevent this disaster?
    thanks for shedding much needed light on this topic.

  3. Maggie Says:

    You are right Gary our governments care nothing for wildlife citizens, especially with an anti-nature President in control. Here in Marin the Golden Gate National Recreation Area wants to kill coyotes who have become habituated to humans – tourists, workers and residents have caused this problem by feeding the animals, either deliberately or through carelessness. Volunteers have spent 100’s of hours trying to educate the public and dehabituate the coyotes (none of which was reported by the Marin Independent Journal in their article). But nothing will work if the people problem isn’t solved, so the coyotes will most likely be killed and people will keep on habituating the new coyotes that take over their territory. Our tax dollars are used to fund the war in Iraq, but also the war on wildlife that goes on in this country every day!

  4. Tammy Says:

    It is a shame!!! These gentle creatures have suffered enough already. We have 80% less than we had 20 years ago. I thought endangered animals are protected. Some protection lets rip you out of your established home (while you are hibernating)and ditch you in the ghetto desert (I have been to Barstow desert) where you don’t have a burrow or anything to protect yourself from hungry wildlife during a drought. Poor little tortoises it makes me terribly upset and sick to my stomach. I joined my local California Turtle & Tortoise Chapter(CTTC)to assist in supporting this wonderful California State Reptile and I donate monthly to the Desert Tortoise Preservation Committee. I have a desert tortoise at home and I can’t imagine the suffering these poor tortoises are going through.

  5. vanessa Says:

    why do they have to kill the coyotes. they could just move the animals to another place.

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