FWS research suggests 470,000 to 970,000 adult tortoises are living in Sonoran Desert
United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) officials have gone through recent evidence and said that tortoise was not presently at risk and thus won’t be given Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. FWS research suggested that at present, 470,000 to 970,000 adult tortoises are living in the Sonoran Desert.
The agency mentioned that the numbers of tortoise have been increasing due to ongoing and long term efforts done by the US and Mexican governments and the state of Arizona. They are also a result of long term commitments to continued proactive efforts between federal agencies and Arizona Game and Fish Department. The efforts are being done to identify and address the primary threats to the tortoise.
After using a robust scientific analysis of the desert tortoise status and current and future threats, the service came to a conclusion that the tortoise does not face extinction now or in the foreseeable future.
In a statement, FWS director Dan Ashe said that this has come up as another example of the ESA power in inspiring successful partnerships between states, landowners and federal agencies on behalf of America’s most imperiled wildlife. Ashe said, « When you combine this with other recent efforts culminating in not-warranted findings, such as the New England cottontail, greater sage-grouse and others, it is clear that the ESA is accomplishing its intended purpose in a flexible and collaborative way ».
In 2010, the tortoise originally became a candidate for protection. In that year, FWS officials discovered that the habitat of the animal was under threat because of increasing human populations in the area.
« fully supports and agrees with the federal decision not to list the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act because our decades-long scientific studies show that the species is stable ». Prior to that time, the Sonoran Desert Tortoise was recognized informally as the « Sonoran population » of the Mojave Desert Tortoise, which was generally referred to as the « desert tortoise ». « These findings represent years of collaborative efforts across the United States to conserve and restore once-imperiled species and their habitats and eliminate the need for ESA protection ».