Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee Inc

A nonprofit organization

9 donors

Within the desert’s fragile ecosystem, tortoise populations are rapidly diminishing; in some places they have disappeared. Losses are due to vandalism, raven predation, disease, collections for pets (now illegal), and habitat degradation. Habitat has been lost or damaged from mining, livestock grazing, development of desert lands for agriculture, sub-divisions, high-ways, industrial uses and off-road vehicle use.

Tortoise populations grow slowly because of their low reproductive potential. Females do not breed until 15 to 20 years old and then may lay clutches of eggs only when adequate forage is available. Also, survival of juveniles is low, only 2-3 per 100 hatched may live to become adults.

The primary purposes of the Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee, Inc., is to promote the welfare of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in the wild and to establish and assist in the establishment of preserves for the desert tortoise.   Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee activities include:

  • Establishing desert tortoise preserves, such as the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area in Kern County, California. Within the designated boundary of this preserve lies 39.5 square miles of prime habitat that historically supported one of the highest tortoise population densities known
  • Developing and implementing management programs for tortoise preserves and adjacent areas. An example is the Harper Lake Road fencing mitigation program. We planned and constructed a tortoise-proof fence along both sides of a 6.9 mile stretch of road leading to the Harper Lake Company’s solar power plant. Culverts positioned at selected sites allow tortoises to cross under the road without risk of being crushed by Harper Lake Company vehicular traffic.
  • Education and research, such as the Interpretive Center and Naturalist Program.  In 1980, the BLM built an Interpretive Center at the entrance to the DTRNA after extensive work on its design and content by Committee members. Each spring, the Committee staffs the Interpretative Center with a naturalist for 3 months every spring since then.  The DTRNA typically receives over 1000 visitors during this 3 month period, and Naturalists give several programs to school and community groups, while interacting with almost all visitors passing through.

The DTCP is a non-profit organization and depends on donations to support its mission of protecting this fascinating icon of the desert.


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Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee Inc

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