Joshua Tree, CA, April 6, 2013 – The desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii is a fascinating species whose existence is threatened. Starting in the classroom, Edward LaRue Jr., representing the Desert Tortoise Council, will discuss tortoise detection and occurrence in the Morongo Basin since 1989, construction monitoring, current threats to the species, and tortoise life history. Paul Delaney, biologist at Copper Mountain College (CMC), will discuss management of the CMC tortoise translocation area, and introduce participants to the remarkable variety of adaptations exhibited by tortoises in the preserve. Moving outside, the class will explore the on-campus tortoise translocation area. Participants will practice detecting tortoises, scat, tracks and burrows. This class will highlight the many unique morphological, physiological, behavioral, and ecological traits essential for tortoises to survive in the desert.

Sponsored by the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park, this field seminar meets at Copper Mountain College, Room 108, 6162 Rotary Way, Joshua Tree CA 92252, on Saturday, April 6, 9 am – 4 pm. Course fees are $50 JTNPA/PINE members and $60 for nonmembers. For class catalog, information, and registration, please call (760) 367-5535 or visit

Source: Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park