September 4, 2008

Reward offered in death of Calif desert tortoise

The Associated Press

YUCCA VALLEY, Calif. — A $5,000 reward has been offered for informating leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever killed a desert tortoise at a Joshua Tree National Park campground last month.

The reward, announced Thursday, is funded by the U.S. Humane Society, the Defenders of Wildlife and Joshua Tree Tortoise Rescue.

The dead tortoise was found Aug. 4. It had been burned in a fire grate at a campsite near Yucca Valley.

Desert tortoises are a threatened species, protected by the federal Endangered Species Act as well as state wildlife laws. The desert tortoise also is California's official state reptile.