Protecting Endangered Mojave Desert Tortoise

Home » » Protecting Endangered Mojave Desert Tortoise

Protecting Endangered Mojave Desert Tortoise

Date: 04/21/2024     State: CA     Issues: Wild Lands, Wildlife     Airport Origin : California City, CA    


To commemorate the Mojave desert tortoise's uplisting to endangered species status, we flew with the Desert Tortoise Natural Preserve Committee to photograph the area and examine how we can best manage and protect the fragile desert ecosystem and its wildlife.

This preserve serves as crucial habitat for the Mojave desert tortoise, a species that after decades of threatened status, has just been added to California’s endangered species list, thanks to Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee, Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area, and Defenders of Wildlife’s petition to California Fish in 2020. The uplist to endangered status, although grim, will provide a higher level of protection and restrict activities that negatively affect the tortoise and its habitat.

The threats to the desert tortoise are numerous, ranging from OHV use to renewable energy development and mining. These activities result in loss of habitat, preventing the tortoise from establishing itself on the already harsh landscape. Much of the Mojave Desert is a hot spot for wind and solar developments, and although critical to a clean energy future, their impact on the landscape must be considered and mitigated. OHV use and mining have similar impacts, removing vegetation and increasing fragmentation of the landscape.

From the air, we were able to clearly see the stark contrast between the preserve and the surrounding area that is managed without regard for the tortoise. Thank you for your continued effort to mitigate the effect human activity has on this native endangered species.

Click here for photos from the flight. Click for geo-referenced flight photos.

Flight Images

Flight Location