On this day we celebrate our local neighbor, the desert tortoise.
The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassazii), a very shell-tered reptile, is long-time resident of the Mojave Desert. Once common throughout its range, the desert tortoise has been under protection of the Endangered Species Act since 1990 due to a dramatic decline in their population numbers. It is estimated that up to a 90% reduction in their numbers has resulted from habitat destruction, disease, and increased predation.
Gold Butte National Monument is home to many desert tortoises and large areas within it have been designated critical habitat for this animal. While enjoying your time in the Monument, please remember to help protect this creature and its desert companions by driving only on designated routes, avoiding damage to vegetation and animals burrows, and, if spotted, maintaining your social distance. Do not collect, touch, or otherwise harass desert tortoise as they scare easily and they are protected by federal law.
Fun fact: Desert tortoises have been known to live up to 80 years, or more!
For more information on desert tortoises, visit https://deserttortoise.org/about-desert-tortoises/desert-tortoises/