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March 8, 2012
Tortoise power Re " The solar desert: An uneasy coexistence ," March 4 I was utterly amazed, though not surprised, by the attempts to "save" the desert tortoise at such a tremendous expense of dollars, personnel, programs, sacrifices and concessions. There is a severe shortage of renewable clean energy on this planet. There are millions of children who go to bed hungry each day. There are millions of humans who do not have access to clean drinking water. But by all means let's have a private company spend in excess of $56 million to provide food, housing, medical care and security for the desert tortoise.
March 4, 2012 | By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
Stubborn does not come close to describing the desert tortoise, a species that did its evolving more than 220 million years ago and has since remained resolutely prehistoric. Its slowpoke take on biological adaptation has exposed modern vulnerabilities. The persnickety reptile is today beset by respiratory infections and prone to disease. Its only defenses are the shell on its back and the scent of its unspeakably foul urine. FOR THE RECORD: The subheadline on an earlier online version of this article erred in describing the desert tortoises as "endangered creatures.
February 26, 2012 | By James Dorsey
I half-expected to hear someone shout, "There's gold in them thar hills," as I rolled into Randsburg, Calif., which sits just off Highway 395 in the Mojave Desert south of Ridgecrest. The discovery of that precious metal gave birth to the town in 1896 when John Singleton, F. M. Mooers and Charlie Burcham filed a claim they called "The Rand. " Within a few months, a saloon, barber shop, general store and even an opera house had sprung up to form what was known as Rand Camp. By 1897 it was called Randsburg, a boomtown of almost 4,000 people.
January 13, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
A giant tortoise species studied by Charles Darwin and believed to be extinct for more than 150 years may be alive and well, an ambitious genetic survey has revealed. Blood sampling of more than 1,600 tortoises on the largest Galapagos island, Isabela, has revealed that about 84 of them had at least one purebred parent from a supposedly extinct species that once lived at the other end of the archipelago. Researchers hope they can find these tortoises in the flesh on Isabela Island, breed them in captivity and then release them back onto Floreana Island, their native home.
December 4, 2011 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Elden Hughes, a crusader for wild places and a leader of the Sierra Club's battles to protect desert wilderness from development and abuse, has died. He was 80. Hughes, who died of prostate cancer early Sunday at his home in Joshua Tree, Calif., was a visionary and inspirational figure who mentored generations of activists in fights to reduce the environmental damage of developments, including renewable energy projects on pristine landscapes and wildlife. Hughes was among a dozen environmentalists invited to the White House in 1994 when President Clinton signed the landmark California Desert Protection Act, which created a new national park in the eastern Mojave Desert and elevated Death Valley and Joshua Tree from national monument to national park status.
June 5, 2011 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
When it comes to caring for the world's rarest cold-blooded animals, few places match the pampering and security provided to hundreds of critically endangered turtles and tortoises at a secret compound in the foothills of Los Padres National Forest. In paddocks and aquariums protected by surveillance cameras and electric wire, Okinawa leaf turtles feast on silkworms and mulberries in a temperature-controlled greenhouse. Nest-building Burmese black mountain tortoises relax in piles of freshly cut oak, sycamore and bamboo.
October 13, 2010
In case you missed it Re "Tortoises make way for solar site," Oct. 9 Where were the activist groups speaking out and demonstrating against this uprooting of the tortoise population? Did anyone ask the tortoises if they were OK with this upheaval of their daily lives, particularly during mating season? No, nobody out there is complaining because this is a "green" effort. I'm all for solar as an additional energy source, but face it, there is an environmental impact and nobody wants to talk about it because it is green.
October 9, 2010 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
More than 100 biologists and contract workers fanned out across a nearly pristine stretch of the eastern Mojave Desert on Friday to start rounding up tortoises blocking construction of the first major solar energy plant to be built on public land in Southern California. On a sunny morning in the height of tortoise courting season, the biologists methodically peered under every bush and into every hole on both sides of a two-mile lane traversing the project site. Following close behind, workers bladed century-old creosote bushes and erected fencing in areas that will soon be declared a "tortoise-free zones.
September 16, 2010 | By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
Woe no more for the Galapagos tortoises at the San Diego Zoo. Although they are the oldest creatures at the zoo, the jumbo-sized reptiles have long been overshadowed by the charismatic vertebrates: pandas, koalas, pachyderms, big cats and even bigger polar bears. But now the tortoises — some of whom have been at the zoo since the 1930s — have a new $1-million upgrade to their enclosure on the zoo's Reptile Mesa. The refurbished digs are meant to be more comfy for the animals, more eye-catching for zoo visitors.
May 16, 2010 | By Susan Salter Reynolds, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The Last Tortoise A Tale of Extinction in Our Lifetime Craig B. Stanford Harvard University Press: 240 pp., $23.95 Longevity, toughness and wisdom are the qualities we associate with this iconic animal. Craig B. Stanford shows how their habitat is threatened and takes us to the markets where they are sold for food, as pets and even as soup bowls. First: When we talk about species, we rely on traditional, sometimes obsolete classifications. It becomes extremely important to update these classifications when we are talking about habitat and vulnerability to poachers and developers.
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