Groups Applaud Finding for Rapidly Declining Desert Icon
Desert tortoise advocates have been waiting for this good news for a very long time. Should a listing take place, many human intrusions into the desert tortoise’s southwest desert habitat, including livestock grazing and excessive development, will be largely halted. The benefit of such will be enjoyed by a great number of desert wildlife species.
Wildlife officials said the environmentalists’ petition presented substantial information that might warrant listing the species as threatened or endangered. Threats include urban sprawl, off-road vehicle use and livestock grazing. The tortoises’ range includes 8.4 million acres of federal public land in Arizona. Livestock grazing is permitted on more than half that land.
The News Release :
Arizona—Aug 28. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) gave the green light today on a petition submitted by WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project requesting protection (listing) for the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act. The finding means that the Service will now conduct a full review to determine if the tortoise warrants being placed on the list of threatened and endangered species.