In the deserts around Las Vegas, the tortoises are running out of time.
Federal funds are running out at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center and officials plan to close the site and euthanize hundreds of the tortoises they’ve been caring for since the animals were added to the endangered species list in 1990.
Going from a conservation center to a euthanasia factory is quite a U-turn. So why has the center’s budget lost funding? The problem is, strangely, that the very development which previously decimated the tortoise’s habitat has now slowed. That construction slowdown has meant that the fees developers pay, which go to fund the center, have slowed as well.
Laws…ban hikers from picking them up, since the animals are likely [to] dehydrate themselves by voiding a year’s worth of stored water when handled. When they’re moved, they nearly always attempt to trudge back to their burrows, foiling attempts to keep them out of harm’s way. They’re also beset by respiratory infections and other illnesses.
If your defense mechanism is triggered just from being picked up, and it entails urinating out a year’s worth of stored water, it sort of seems like you deserve to wind up in the morbidly-labeled “carcass freezer”.
Previously in nearly-extinct animals: Giant Pandas Are Poorly Designed