Government scientists tracking 158 desert tortoises relocated nearly two years ago from the Army’s Fort Irwin in California to make way for military maneuvers say that nearly half of the animals have died, mostly from coyote attacks.
The death rate, disclosed at a scientific symposium last weekend, raises concern about relocating tortoises, a species threatened with extinction.
The success or failure of the effort is important because more relocations are expected as companies develop wind and solar energy on public land in the Mojave Desert. In addition, the Army intends to move as many as 1,200 more to protect them from artillery fire, tanks and other dangers, and has invested millions of dollars in the effort.
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