Breeding in managed care is discouraged out of concern for spread of disease from captive tortoises
Management practices should be "compatible with the evolutionary history of gene flow" in widely separated desert tortoise populations (Edwards et al 2004)
Human-made barriers now block tortoise movements
Translocations to small isolated populations from nearby populations may aid in long term survival
Potential hazards of translocations currently being assessed; may increase spread of disease, survival of translocated tortoises needs further study
Desert tortoises from a managed care source can be kept in Arizona, but only one tortoise per family.
In Nevada, desert tortoises can be kept if were already in managed care prior to listing; can't buy, sell, or give them away.
Sonoran Desert Museum established a Tortoise Adoption Program (sanctioned by AZ Game & Fish Department)
Desert tortoises can be kept in California after obtaining a permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Desert tortoises are hardy and are often given harmful care because the effects are not immediately obvious
Conditions necessary for healthy desert tortoises:
Diet as close to that in the wild as possible (be wary of advice in websites and popular literature)
Living in the species natural geographical range
A well-designed and secure habitat with sun and shade, a burrow, walls to prevent climbing out
Protection from injury and extremes of climate
Protection from ants, dogs, other turtle species, predatory birds, rodents, house cats
Dietary items often offered but which should be avoided:
Apples, avocado, bananas, cat and dog food, corn, dairy products, iceberg lettuce, melons, peaches, primate biscuits
Any commercial diets marketed for turtles (they are tortoises, with different dietary requirements than that of other turtles)
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