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KNAU and Arizona News

The Sonoran desert tortoise will not be considered endangered

Sonoran desert tortoise
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Sonoran desert tortoise

Federal officials have concluded that Sonoran desert tortoises native to Arizona have a relatively stable population that doesn’t need protection from environmental threats.

Conservation groups say they’re still not convinced that the reptiles’ well-being is a sure thing but the Arizona Cattle Growers Association welcomed the decision.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that the tortoise doesn’t warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act because a scientific study “determined that it is not at risk of extinction in the foreseeable future.”

The decision capped a review ordered by a federal judge after conservationists sued to block a previous decision in 2015 against listing the tortoise as a threatened species.