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Bolson Tortoise


Bolson tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus)

Principal Biologist(s)

Chris Wiese, Scott Hillard

Project Location

Armendaris Ranch, NM and Ladder Ranch, NM

Conservation Problem

Population decline and contraction of the bolson tortoise range due to:

  • Climate change
  • Habitat fragmentation, degradation, and loss
  • Collection for food


Conservation Status

  • Listed range-wide in the US as Federally endangered under the Endangered Species Act (1979)
  • Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List

Project Goals & Objectives

Our overall goal is to establish independent, free-living, minimally managed bolson tortoise populations in the northern portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, which constitutes their prehistoric range. To this end, we aim to:

  • Increase bolson tortoise population size through robust captive breeding and head-start programs that protect juveniles until they reach a predator-resistant size.
  • Release juvenile bolson tortoises on the Ladder and Armendaris Ranches to establish wild populations.


Project Background