Friday, August 28, 2009

Sonoran Desert Tortoise gets the green light from the feds



The Endangered Species Act petition to protect the Sonoran desert tortoise got the green light from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in their "90 day finding." Good news for these charismatic ancient critters! WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project were the petitioners.
The full list of threats noted in today’s finding is long, including: habitat loss from livestock grazing, urbanization, border activities, off-road vehicles, roads, and mining; harm to individual tortoises from shooting, collection for pets or food, handling, and harassment; diseases such as upper respiratory tract disease, shell disease, and other pathogens; increased predation by ravens, coyotes, and feral dogs due to urban encroachment; inadequate legal protections, including on federal and state public lands; altered fire patterns due to exotic weeds; crushing and killing of tortoises by off-road vehicle users; and prolonged drought, exacerbated by the climate crisis.
Sounds like a species that needs ESA protection.