45 Year Old Endangered Tortoise Found Burned to Death
Look at this face, and ask yourself. Who in the world would harm or kill one of these endangered animals. Apparently, someone decided to and hopefully they will be caught.
An endangered tortoise has been found burned to death in a fire grate at Black Rock campground in the Yucca Valley area.
Joe Zarki, information officer for Joshua Tree National Park, says rangers are seeking information from anyone who knows anything related to the dead desert tortoise found Aug. 4. He estimates the tortoise was 45 years old.
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.
More details regarding the tragic death of this 45 year old animal. If anyone has any information regarding this crime please contact the authorities.
The release did not say if it was a male or female and park officials could not be reached for further details Tuesday afternoon.
Desert tortoises are a threatened species that are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and state wildlife laws.
They were designated as threatened in 1990.
California's population of desert tortoises has declined by 80 percent or 90 percent since the 1970s, said Bureau of Land Management Wildlife Biologist Mark Massar.
“There are places in the western Mojave Desert where the tortoise is wiped out completely,” he said.
Tortoises have been killed by passing vehicles, ravens that eat baby reptiles and an upper respiratory tract disease that Massar compared to the flu.
Officials said the raven population has grown over the years in the region because the birds also feed from area landfills.
“Ultimately, it's all related to humans,” Massar said.
Tortoises can live to be 100 years old and may grow to 15 inches.
“You're not straining to pick up a tortoise; a child could easily pick up a tortoise,” Massar said.
According to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, anyone found guilty of harming an endangered species is subject to criminal penalties of up to one year in federal prison and $50,000 in fines.
Civil penalties of up to $25,000 for each violation may also be imposed.