Promoting Desert Tortoise Care

Angie (in middle) and other DTCC staff help promote desert tortoise care at the Plant Sale.

Spring is here, and the San Diego Zoo Desert Tortoise Conservation Center (DTCC) is gearing up for the 2012 season. Tortoises are emerging from hibernation, and local custodians of tortoises have lots of questions for the DTCC staff!

One of our roles is to help educate Las Vegas residents about wild and pet desert tortoises. Attending local events such as the Springs Preserve Plant Sale is one way to reach people. The plant sale sells native Mojave Desert plants, which are more water efficient for yards in Las Vegas. It’s also a great opportunity to work with a local partner and educate the public on proper plants for pet tortoise habitats. The event gives us the opportunity to talk to people one on one and answer questions. We can also hand out important information to desert tortoise custodians, such as a list of native foods and plants they can add to their backyards.

It’s very important for people to know how to properly care for their pet tortoise! This year, we had a number of interested people who wanted to know what we do for desert tortoises and how they can help. We were able to explain our efforts in recovering the wild desert tortoise and the research projects we are working on. Our goal is to relocate tortoises back into the desert; the DTCC is the only legally authorized organization allowed to do this.

We also encouraged Springs Preserve Plant Sale attendees to volunteer at the DTCC, which is a great way to learn more about what we do. We had a sign-up sheet and information about the type of volunteer work they could do to help the desert tortoise!

If you are interested in volunteering, please email us at

Angie Covert is a research coordinator at the San Diego Zoo Desert Tortoise Conservation Center. Read her previous post, Desert Tortoises Get Great Care.

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