April 14, 2008

Mojave Max Emerges

Local Desert Tortoise Says Spring has Finally Arrived

Press Release
Clark County NV

Mojave Max, the famous Southern Nevada desert tortoise, officially emerged from his burrow at 11:27 a.m. today.

This year marks the latest that Mojave Max has emerged. Many residents will agree that this has been a very cool spring for Las Vegas. However, now that he has emerged, we can expect the temperatures in Las Vegas to continue to climb as spring gets going.

Mojave Max is a live desert tortoise residing at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Like other Southern Nevada desert tortoises, he enters a burrow to brumate (the reptilian form of hibernation) every winter and emerges every spring. Mojave Max's emergence marks the beginning of spring in Southern Nevada. Warmer temperatures, longer daylight hours and an internal clock are factors known to contribute to his emergence every year.

As part of the ninth annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest, students have been studying Mojave Desert weather, temperatures, and conditions to scientifically estimate when they believed Mojave Max would first emerge from his burrow in 2008. They entered their guesses on line at http://www.mojavemax.com/. The entries are being tabulated and the official winner will be announced soon. The winning student will receive prizes including a year-long pass to federally managed fee areas and a personal game system. The winner's entire class will receive a field trip to Mojave Max's habitat, Mojave Max Olympic-style medals and T-shirts, while the winner's teacher will receive a personal computer.

"Now that Mojave Max has come out of his burrow, spring is officially here," said Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid, who declared it Mojave Max Day countywide. "Everyone's favorite tortoise is a great ambassador of the desert, helping our local school children understand our environment and how it works."

Questions about the live Mojave Max residing at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area should be directed to the visitor's center at 702-515-5350. Volunteers, rangers, and members of the public have been watching Mojave Max's habitat closely for the last few weeks, anxiously awaiting his announcement of spring for Clark County.

Mojave Max's Emergences by year

2000 03/15/00 12:32 p.m.
2001 03/19/01 8:30 a.m.
2002 03/22/02 11:46 a.m.
2003 03/07/03 10:25 a.m.
2004 02/19/04 11:14 a.m.
2005 02/14/05 11:55 a.m.
2006 04/03/06 11:32 a.m.
2007 03/26/07 11:34 a.m.

More information is available at http://www.accessclarkcounty.com/