SIX DESERT TORTOISES KILLED BY CARELESS JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK VISITORS

SIX DESERT TORTOISES KILLED BY CARELESS JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK VISITORS

In recent months, six desert tortoises—including one estimated to have been 80 years old—have been killed by motorists driving over them in Joshua Tree National Park. The tortoises have been killed in the park’s parking lots, campgrounds, and on the park’s roads. Joshua Tree National Park ranger George Land urges everyone to look out for these iconic animals and give them a wide berth…

Like the Joshua tree, the desert tortoise has become a symbol of the Mojave Desert. During fall and spring, tortoises emerge from their burrows to forage for food and water. If you’re lucky, you might see one of these amazing animals during your visit to Joshua Tree National Park.

Tortoises are used to dealing with the harsh conditions of desert life; however, people are the biggest danger for these laid-back little critters. Every year, a number of desert tortoises are killed by motor vehicles. Feral and domestic dog attacks account for other fatalities and ravens prey on the little ones.

You can help preserve and protect these endangered residents of Joshua Tree by driving with caution and looking for objects on the road ahead. Check underneath your vehicle in campgrounds and parking lots to make sure a tortoise hasn’t been using your vehicle for shade. Keep your dog on a leash and off of park trails.

Tortoises have been around since the age of dinosaurs, but they’re facing modern threats to their very existence. Let’s all do our part to insure they’re around for future generations.

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