What Defenders Is Doing to Help Desert Tortoises
Defenders was influential in listing the Mojave population in 1989, and in the early 1990s helped secure key acquisition lands. The Mojave population of the desert tortoise is still declining drastically due to staff constraints, funding shortfalls, and lack of public support for necessary recovery actions. The Desert Tortoise was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1989 and a team of experts developed a recovery plan to guide its recovery in 1994. Defenders is involved in the current mandated review of the recovery plan.
Height: 4-6 inches.
Length: 9-15 inches (shell length).
Weight: 8-15 lbs.
Lifespan: 50-80 years.
The desert tortoise has a high domed shell, or carapace, that is greenish to dark brown in color. Its front limbs have heavy, claw-like scales and their flat shapes are well-designed for digging.