The Sonoran desert tortoise is found south and east of the Colorado River, in the central and western parts of Arizona, and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat of this rare reptile is threatened by invasive species, livestock grazing, increase fire risk, housing developments, off-road vehicles, habitat fragmentation, and increased predation facilitated by human activities.
In 2015, WildEarth Guardians and allies challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) decision not to protect the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of that lawsuit, in August 2020 USFWS agreed to reconsider the tortoise for ESA protection.
USFWS must now go back and take a new look at the imperiled animal’s status in Arizona and has 18 months to make a new determination about the status of the species. Sonoran desert tortoise are known for moving slowly, but without full federal ESA protections, they will continue racing toward extinction. Please raise your voice today!
Photo Credit: E.K. Schahauser
- Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland