August 27, 2013

Conservation Center Tortoises Will Be Released

Desert tortoises are threatened by their own conservation center. (Desert Tortoise Conservation Center)


Las Vegas – Southern Nevada’s 17-year-old Desert Tortoise Conservation Center will close by the end of 2014 as the funding that supports it dries up.

There are 1,400 desert tortoises living at the center, where management and wildlife officials were scrambling on Monday to correct the misconception that the animals will be euthanized on a large scale.

Jeannie Stafford of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the national press misreported the center’s intentions. The center is working to get some of the tortoises adopted through the humane society. Some could go to private land that can accommodate them, the remainder, if they are healthy, will be released into the wild.

The center has so many tortoises because people find them and take them home as pets, only to have a change of heart later.

Stafford urges parents, kids, and anyone else who might get the urge to adopt — if you see a tortoise in the wild, it’s best to leave it there.