(NOTE: a condensed version of this report appears in the Autumn, 2014 issue of “Range” magazine, on newsstands through Oct. 15.)
IS IT ALL TO SAVE THE TORTOISE?
The federals contend they’re doing all this to “protect the threatened desert tortoise,” though I’ve documented again and again over the years (citing such experts as Vern Bostick) that government wildlife experts admit the desert tortoise is “at saturation levels” in the wild, and that all evidence demonstrates the tortoises do better when cattle are on the land, with the ranchers putting in drips and tanks and maintaining the water features.
In fact, the federally mandated Kern River Pipeline study found more tortoises on grazed land than ungrazed, but found the very highest concentration of the supposedly ”threatened” desert tortoise near urban back yards and golf courses. So saying we need to get ranchers and cattle off the land to “protect” the tortoise is like saying we need to level all the man-made buildings on Manhattan Island to “protect the threatened” pigeon, which in fact is eternally grateful to mankind for erecting all those wonderful window ledges.