Course Description: Health Assessment Procedures for Translocations of Desert Tortoises is an advanced training module for Desert Tortoise field workers and researchers designed and organized by a highly experienced cooperative group of federal, state, county, and independent biologists and wildlife veterinarians. This course prepares students to conduct the standardized health assessments that are required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) prior to and following the translocation of desert tortoises from project sites. Information is presented through lectures and specialized hands-on training using live desert tortoises.

Prerequisite: Assessing health and collecting biological samples are the most sophisticated activities routinely permitted by the Service for Desert Tortoises and are not appropriate tasks for novice individuals. In order to maximize the educational benefit for students and use class time as effectively as possible, prospective students should be familiar with basic tortoise biology, behavior, and natural history and have experience in basic skills such as identifying sex and weighing and measuring tortoises.

In addition, to qualify for this course, you will need to meet the minimum Tortoise Handling Experience (category 1) and either Desert Experience (category 2) or Education and Research (category 3) as described below.