August 15, 2014

Desert tortoise doing just fine



The desert tortoise is so threatened, in such a fight for species survival, that it desperately needs birth control.

If you’ve read this page for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with the federal government’s absurd efforts to protect a reptile that doesn’t need protection. Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of desert tortoises live in Las Vegas Valley backyards or in pens as pets. But federal law is concerned solely with species populations that live in the wild. So the fact that desert tortoises breed, thrive and actually fare better as pets is a problem in need of fixing.

As reported Wednesday by the Review-Journal’s Henry Brean, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is inviting veterinarians from across the West to come to Las Vegas to participate in a two-day tortoise sterilization clinic. The public will pay for experts to teach the latest snipping techniques.

Hey, at least federal officials are no longer focused on killing the creatures they say they’re trying to protect — at one point, they were ready to euthanize surplus tortoises at their conservation center. But a far more cost-effective approach would be to remove the thriving creatures from the threatened species list altogether. Consider this problem solved. Leave the tortoises alone, already.