News Release

Joshua Tree National Park to Celebrate Desert Tortoise Week

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Date: September 22, 2022

Twentynine Palms, California - Easily one of the most identifiable desert icons, the Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is celebrated October 3-7, 2022 at desert conservation organizations such as national parks, zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, as well as in schools across the desert southwest. These animals have been on the earth an estimated 15-20 million years, yet today, populations are on the decline. Mortality can be attributed to multiple factors including habitat loss, climate change, and unnatural raven predation. Extensive work with research, field work, outreach and education at Joshua Tree National Park is giving hope for a brighter future. 

Next year, Joshua Tree National Park will be working with the United States Geological Survey to analyze data collected over the past fifteen years to identify movement patterns near roads. Vehicle collisions on roads are particularly dangerous to desert tortoise. Outreach and education have lessoned mortality rates but there is still work to be done. The Park benefits from an active volunteer program that tirelessly works to help collect tortoise telemetry data. We are grateful for all park volunteers that dedicate valuable time to help the NPS achieve conservation goals! 

During this week of celebration, visitors can learn more about tortoises on our social media, as well as in person by attending a ranger led activity: 

Tortoise Table at Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center, located in downtown Twentynine Palms 
Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. 
Join a park ranger at the Tortoise Table for fun, games, and tortoise fun facts! 

Tortoise Evening Program & Ranger Talk, located at the Indian Cove Campground Amphitheater 
Thursday, October 6, 2022 - 7:30 pm. 
Join a park ranger for a 45-minute presentation. Discover tortoise fun facts, learn about threats and conservation efforts, and what can be done to save this iconic species from extinction. 

Please check updated program schedules on our website by following this link: 

Last updated: September 22, 2022

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