NEVADA FWO: New Partnerships Formed for Desert Tortoise Recovery

Tortoises in block pen

Tortoises in block pen

By Jeannie Stafford, Nevada FWO — Kim Field, desert tortoise recovery biologist at the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office has long recognized the potential of the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center (DTCC) to make a strong contribution to desert tortoise recovery. Her initiative and foresight has been instrumental in creating a new partnership that is the first large-scale collaborative effort between the Service and the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), in the contiguous 48 states. This new partnership will serve as a national model to encourage new approaches to complex conservation issues.

The DTCC was constructed in Las Vegas in 1990. Since its construction, the DTCC has been used primarily as a holding facility for formerly wild tortoises removed from development sites and for tortoises from Clark County’s tortoise pick-up service. Although the Center has occasionally hosted various research projects, it has had limited value to conservation and recovery of the desert tortoise.

In 2005 and 2006, Kim coordinated the development of a master plan. The plan envisions the transformation of the DTCC into a facility that would enhance desert tortoise recovery, provide for improved desert restoration techniques, foster cooperative scientific research that supports our knowledge of Mojave Desert ecosystems, and enhances public education and awareness of conservation needs of the Mojave Desert.

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