The Desert Tortoise Council is pleased to announce the 48th Annual Meeting and Symposium, which will be a hybrid event (both in-person and virtual attendance options) that will be held at the Dixie Center in Saint George, Utah, in February 2023.
The Board of Directors meets a minimum of three times per year to review, conduct, and implement Council business. Our Board meetings are open to the general Council membership.
For 2022 we offer a combination course with two half days of online lectures (October 28 & 29) and a full day of fieldwork (either November 4 or November 5). A fieldwork day will be available to those who completed the lecture in 2021 but were not able to attend a field day. Registration for the full course with workshop will begin August 1.
Help collect data needed to monitor road mortality for desert tortoises and other Mojave Desert species, raven activity, and any observations of tortoises or their carcasses you may observe in the wild while you’re out exploring and hiking. The data you collect using the app will help identify areas where road mortality and/or raven activity may be occurring at high rates (hot-spots) and help inform development of management actions to address these issues.
The 47th Annual Desert Tortoise Council Symposium (Virtual) will be held mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, February 15, 17, 22, and 24, and afternoons on Friday the 18th and 25th, 2022. Registration now open!
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that federal listing under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted for the Sonoran Desert Tortoise (Gopherus morafki) at this time.
Innovations for Improvement/Restoration of Desert Tortoise Habitat
The Desert Tortoise Council announces a request for proposals (RFP) for research projects targeted at developing innovations or methods designed to improve desert tortoise habitat restoration techniques. An award of $9,000 is available for the research project.
- The Desert Balloon Project
- 20 Years of Commitment to Tortoise and Turtle Conservation
- The New Normal: DTC Introductory Training Programs
- Recent Publications, 2019-2021
- Mojave Desert Tortoise Critically Endangered
First Known Cases of RHDV-2 Found in California
Since March 2020, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV-2) has been spreading through wild and domestic lagomorphs in the western U.S. and Mexico, causing large mortality events. RHDV2 is highly contagious and is extremely persistent in the environment.
In early May, an unusual number of dead lagomorphs were reported on a site in the Coachella Valley in Riverside County. At the request of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), a specimen was transported to a lab for necropsy the death was attributed to RHDV-2. Ultimately over fifty dead lagomorphs were found in the area over the course of just a few weeks and in the weeks since, cases have also been reported in San Diego, Orange, and San Bernardino counties.
CDFW, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working to limit transmission and have published guidance.
Due to Covid-19, the Desert Tortoise Council will not hold public gatherings until public health authorities can confidently approve them. We will plan to substitute our onsite events with virtual meetings. Please see information on the November Introductory Course and the Annual Symposium for specifics.
The 2020 Annual Symposium in Las Vegas was a success!
A new, comprehensive account of Agassiz’s desert tortoise by Kristin H. Berry and Robert W. Murphy has been published by the Chelonian Research Foundation and Turtle Conservancy in association with the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Global Wildlife Conservation, Turtle Conservation Fund, and International Union for Conservation of Nature / Species Survival Commission.
Conservation Organizations Gathered to Discuss Enhanced Wildlife Protections in the U.S.-Mexico Border States
Last month, some 40 wildlife conservation leaders and specialists representing 22 American and Mexican non-governmental organizations were gathered during the 44th Annual Symposium of the Desert Tortoise Council in Tucson, Arizona to celebrate recent successes and accelerate protection of transboundary wildlife corridors, with a focus on supporting private lands conservation on the U.S.-Mexico border states.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has just released the “Desert Tortoise Annotated Bibliography, 1991 – 2015”, prepared by Dr. Kristin H. Berry and her team. The Desert Tortoise Council funded a grant to the USGS to complete this very important document.
The DTC is very interested in gathering all available hard copy materials that will help us accurately represent the rich history of the Desert Tortoise Council. We are particularly interested in hearing from past board members and officers, and respectfully seek folders and boxes full of archival materials.
This newly-published book by Dr. Scott Abella. Conserving America’s National Parks shares the status of conservation challenges and successes in America’s 408 national parks. The book includes discussions of interactions of the desert tortoise with non-native plants and fire, plus renewable energy, in addition to the overall focus of the book on conserving key habitats.
Visit our Awards page to view the list of recipients of awards at the 2018 Annual Symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
View the latest Desert Tortoise related job opportunities. If your organization is hiring and you would like to provide a link to the position announcement on the Desert Tortoise Council website, please contact our webmaster.