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View Diary: 700 Tortoises to be Slaughtered. Because. Austerity. (104 comments)

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  •  This story hurts me deeply because these (21+ / 0-)

    tortoises are my neighbors with whom I share this glorious desert.

    We had one old guy spend two hours trying to get through our fence one year until we went out and opened the gate for him. He calmly walked across the patio, allowed us to gently lower him down two concrete steps and wander off to the back gate, carefully skirting the inground swimming pool.

    They are terribly territorial and tend to be stubbornly insistent upon following their own path to wherever it is they go.

    When we first volunteered at Joshua Tree National Park in 1989 (it was only a Monument back then) our first encounter with a desert tortoise was with a ranger who was trying desperately to re-hydrate one who had been picked up by visitors. The poor creatures are so shy that picking them up leads to their voiding their bladder which can contain enough moisture to allow their survival in a desert. This one didn't make it.

    They need deserts, not backyards. They need to be free to travel and mate and dig their underground burrows. They can live well over fifty years, and the thought of so many healthy creatures being put to death when the population has already been devastated is painful.

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