Figure 1: The northern extent of the Chihuahuan Desert Ecoregion on the Armendaris Ranch.
TESF aims to restore wild populations of the bolson tortoise to portions of its Pleistocene range in the U.S. We are in the process of breeding adults to produce large numbers of juveniles in captivity. Our goal is to produce offspring with the highest possible genetic diversity, and to use population projection models to inform future release strategies to achieve optimal population growth.
Map 1: Bolson tortoises were once distributed throughout the Chihuahuan Desert area. Today, the species is reduced to a small, isolated population in the Bolson de Mapimi in Mexico. TESF is successfully breeding a captive population at Turner ranches in New Mexico with a view to restoring the species to the New Mexico landscape.
Since beginning the
bolson tortoise restoration effort in 2006,
TESF and its collaborators have grown the
original captive population of 30 adults (and
7 hatchlings in 2006) to 176 individuals in
increase in the captive population corresponds
to strong annual population growth
rates. In the year 2009-2010, our
captive population grew by 55%. For more
information, see the TESF
bolson tortoise prospectus.
J. M. 1959. A new tortoise, genus Gopherus, from north-central Mexico.
University of Kansas Publications. Museum of Natural History
Donlan, C. J., J. Berger, C. E. Bock, J. H. Bock, D. A. Burney, J. A. Estes, D. Foreman, P. S. Martin, G. W. Roemer, F. A. Smith, M. E. Soule, and H. W. Greene. 2006. Pleistocene rewilding: An optimistic agenda for twenty-first century conservation. The American Naturalist. 168(5):660-681.