Whiskers are also known as vibrissa, from the latin vibrare "to vibrate". Vibrissa are the specialized hairs on mammals and the bristlelike feathers near the mouths of many birds. Their resonant design is symbolic of the energies, good and bad, that are reverberating throughout the natural world. Every living thing is connected and, by birthright, deserves to exist.
Scientific Name: (Gopherus agassizii)
Year Listed on the Endangered Species List: 1980
Endangered Species Listing Status: Threatened
Conservation Efforts and Partners:
In March 2009, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as a member of the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), began a partnership to operate the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center (DTCC) along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).
The DTCC is the only facility of its kind, serving as a drop-off location for unwanted pet desert tortoises and a future hub for interdisciplinary research to help save not only Mojave desert tortoises but their native habitat. It is the only authorized organization permitted to take in these animals, rehabilitate them and legally release them to the wild through a structured research program to ensure their success.
Where Desert Tortoises Live:
Desert tortoises live in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico from northern Sinaloa up through Sonora and western Arizona to southeastern California, southern Nevada, and the southwestern tip of Utah. They live in a variety of habitats including deserts, dunes, forests and mountains.
What Desert Tortoises Eat:
Leaves, wood, bark, stems, fruit and flowers.
How Long Desert Tortoises Live:
Young desert tortoises have a low survival rate as only one of every 15 tortoises hatched lives to age 20. However, once a desert tortoise makes it to age 20, it has a very high chance of living to 80 years.
How We Can All Help Desert Tortoises:
If you see a desert tortoise in the wild, please don’t take it home.
Watch this brief video of FWS Desert Tortoise Recovery Coordinator, Roy Averill-Murray explaining the natural history, threats, and desert tortoise recovery plan.