Status of the desert tortoise in Red Rock Canyon State Park
We surveyed for desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizii, in the western part of Red Rock Canyon State Park and watershed in eastern Kern County, California, between 2002 and 2004. We used two techniques: a single demographic plot (~4 km2 ) and 37 landscape plots (1-ha each). We estimated population densities of tortoises to be between 2.7 and 3.57/km2 and the population in the Park to be 108 tortoises. We estimated the death rate at 67% for subadults and adults during the last 4 yrs. Mortality was high for several reasons: gunshot deaths, avian predation, mammalian predation, and probably disease. Historic and recent anthropogenic impacts from State Highway 14, secondary roads, trash, cross-country vehicle tracks, and livestock have contributed to elevated death rates and degradation of habitat. We propose conservation actions to reduce mortality.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Status of the desert tortoise in Red Rock Canyon State Park|
|Series title||California Fish and Game|
|Contributing office(s)||Western Ecological Research Center|