Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wildlife officials finalize agreement to release more Bolson tortoises on Ted Turner's New Mexico ranch

A Bolson tortoise
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
A Bolson tortoise

U.S. wildlife officials have finalized an agreement regarding the release of additional Bolson tortoises on the central New Mexico ranch of media mogul Ted Turner. The “safe harbor agreement” will facilitate the release of captive tortoises on Turner’s Armendaris Ranch to establish a free-ranging population.

The Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the agreement, which offers private landowners protections from regulations, can serve as a model for more innovative ways to work within the Endangered Species Act. Bolson’s are the largest and rarest of the six North American tortoise species.

Friday's announcement marks another step toward one day releasing the tortoise into its natural habitats more broadly. Conservationists want the federal government to consider crafting a recovery plan for the species. The tortoise is an example of a growing effort to find new homes for endangered species as climate change and other threats push them from their historic ranges.