Bolson tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus)

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GeoTerraTestudo

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I realize folks here have seen desert, Texas, and gopher tortoises, but has anybody here ever actually seen a Bolson tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus)?

Rewilding
"The Bolson Tortoise was recently brought to the world's attention when in August, 2005 a provocative article on “Pleistocene rewilding” appeared in the journal Nature (Donlan, et al., 2005) proposing that megafauna that went extinct in North America at the close of the Pleistocene (~12,800 years ago) be reintroduced to the continent to create a Pleistocene Park. The Bolson tortoise was the first species proposed for this restoration effort. The tortoise is unique in that, unlike mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers and giant ground sloths, it is not extinct. The Turner Endangered Species Fund, who re-introduced the tortoise to New Mexico, has made it clear that the restoration of the tortoise to the Southwest is an endangered species recovery project and not a “rewilding” project, although elements of rewilding exist."

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ4U118EBy8[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXu5EyzMb1c[/youtube]
 

egyptiandan

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Actually Art those are Texas tortoises :D

This project has been going on since the late 1970's by a private group, but has been picked up by a few other groups since than. They had some good success in the mid 1980's.

Danny
 

HLogic

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Ah, Berlandier's... I should have suspected as much as the photo didn't show the typical yellow and the Texas ranges extensively into Mx and is much more common. Good catch!
 

SILVERSTAR

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Thats really cool to have a tortoise with that kinda history behind him......GREAT FIND....AND GREAT CONVERSATION STORY BEHIND HIM....AND IT MAKES HIM THAT MUCH MORE INTERESTING.
 

The Mojave Kid

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G. flavomarginatus is a spectacular species indeed! I recently attended a tortoise symposium in vegas and got to meet a couple of researchers who worked with them! Currently I believe they are only found at a couple of private ranches in Southern New Mexico and Arizona, maybe Texas. They are also a rather large species of Gopher Tortoise possibly the largest approx 14 inches on average! It is definitely the heaviest as well.

Here is a very informative paper for anyone interested:
Bolson Tortoise
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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The Mojave Kid said:
G. flavomarginatus is a spectacular species indeed! I recently attended a tortoise symposium in vegas and got to meet a couple of researchers who worked with them! Currently I believe they are only found at a couple of private ranches in Southern New Mexico and Arizona, maybe Texas. They are also a rather large species of Gopher Tortoise possibly the largest approx 14 inches on average! It is definitely the heaviest as well.

Here is a very informative paper for anyone interested:
Bolson Tortoise

Cool article! Yes, Bolson tortoises are now found in Mexico, but they used to have a range that included what is now the USA. That's why some people have reintroduced them to private land in New Mexico, although the federal government will not reintroduce them, since they haven't lived north of the Rio Grande since the US became a country. This is the problem with the government's "pre-Colombian" policy: it ignores animals' pre-Indian distribution. Hopefully that policy will change sooner rather than later.

As for the Bolson tortoise, they are in the same genus (Gopherus) as desert, Texas, and gopher tortoises. However, within that genus, the desert and Texas tortoises are in the subgenus Xerobates, while the gopher and Bolson tortoises are in the subgenus Gopherus.

Laura said:
they can be sold?

I seriously doubt it ... better not be! They are endangered, and besides, I think they are one of those tortoise species that are not very hardy in captivity, and don't make good pets.
 

ascott

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Another problem "I" think for reintroducing them in Mexico would be that, as noted in this and other articles....one of the biggest threats is human predation for consumption....until this is resolved and until money is put into a group/organization to enforce their status in Mexico then the majority of reintroduced tortoise would be subject to a tough threat of people consuming them (they still do).... tough subject in this day and age that is for certain.....
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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ascott said:
Another problem "I" think for reintroducing them in Mexico would be that, as noted in this and other articles....one of the biggest threats is human predation for consumption....until this is resolved and until money is put into a group/organization to enforce their status in Mexico then the majority of reintroduced tortoise would be subject to a tough threat of people consuming them (they still do).... tough subject in this day and age that is for certain.....

Yes, in Mexico their conservation might be tougher to enforce, but in the US (New Mexico and Texas), there are private ranches where they are protected. Hopefully someday soon they will be reintroduced into state and national parks, where they would be protected as well.
 

egyptiandan

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Sadly I agree with the government on releasing Bolson tortoises into the southwest. They haven't been native for a very long time and died out for a reason (though I'm sure man at the time didn't help, but isn't the sole cause (the same with the rest of the megafauna that was here)). Condors are a different story as they have always been native to the US, so it's not that much of a stretch to introduce them to the Grand Canyon.
Than you have the interesting things that have gone on between Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the way of endangered species, which is just plain stupid. I don't know which thing came first, so don't know who started it. But, Massachusetts has a population of Red-bellied cooters (used to be thought a different subspecies from the ones down south (they even put it on the endangered species list and haven't taken it off) it's not a different subspecies though). They aren't found now in Rhode Island, so Rhode Island asked if they could have some to re-introduce to Rhode Island. Well Massachusetts refused, I'm not sure what stupid excuse they gave but I'm sure it was a winner :p. Than you come to the American Burying Beetle, they have 2 disjunct populations (1 in Rhode Island and 1 down south in Georgia and a couple of other states). Well Massachusets asked for some American Burying Beetles to re-introduce to Massachusetts. You can guess what Rhode Island said. :rolleyes: The politics of having something your neighbor doesn't, pretty petty don't you think.

Danny
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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egyptiandan said:
Sadly I agree with the government on releasing Bolson tortoises into the southwest. They haven't been native for a very long time and died out for a reason (though I'm sure man at the time didn't help, but isn't the sole cause (the same with the rest of the megafauna that was here)). Condors are a different story as they have always been native to the US, so it's not that much of a stretch to introduce them to the Grand Canyon.
Than you have the interesting things that have gone on between Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the way of endangered species, which is just plain stupid. I don't know which thing came first, so don't know who started it. But, Massachusetts has a population of Red-bellied cooters (used to be thought a different subspecies from the ones down south (they even put it on the endangered species list and haven't taken it off) it's not a different subspecies though). They aren't found now in Rhode Island, so Rhode Island asked if they could have some to re-introduce to Rhode Island. Well Massachusetts refused, I'm not sure what stupid excuse they gave but I'm sure it was a winner :p. Than you come to the American Burying Beetle, they have 2 disjunct populations (1 in Rhode Island and 1 down south in Georgia and a couple of other states). Well Massachusets asked for some American Burying Beetles to re-introduce to Massachusetts. You can guess what Rhode Island said. :rolleyes: The politics of having something your neighbor doesn't, pretty petty don't you think.

Danny

Very interesting about the goings-on in the Eastern US. However, I think that, wherever human effects have played a large role in extirpating a species, and where the environment hasn't changed much, and people have not acquired the land for other purposes, animals should be rewilded. Whether it's tortoises, bison, or horses, if we drove 'em out, we should put 'em back whenever possible. It's good for them, and it's good for us, too.
 

egyptiandan

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We should probably start a new thread :p but I guess if I use Bolson once I'm okay :D
I'm all for re-introductions of endangered species extirpated in former parts of their range (last 400 to 500 years ago). Not though in favor of introducing animals back that were here 13,000 years ago. There is just no way man (on his own) with population densities at the time and technology of the time, extirpated the megafauna of that era without help from a changing enviroment. If the populations of those species were healthy and doing well, man would have never been able to exterminate them. Look at the Bison, used by Native Americans for 10,000 years at least. Their population has been estimated at 60 million when the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock. Doesn't sound like man was doing them any harm with the technology available to them.

Danny
 

TortugaGrande

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There are four Bolson tortoises (2 breeding pairs) at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park in Carlsbad, NM. If you get a chance to visit soon, you may catch a glimpse of the new hatchlings that will be on display until the temperatures drop. At this point in time, these four Bolson tortoises and their offspring are your best option for seeing a true Bolson tortoise.

The El Paso Zoo has three Bolson tortoise juveniles, but these are not yet on display. The El Paso Zoo also has a group of hybrid tortoises that have some Bolson blood (they are hybrids with the Gopher tortoise). The zoo used to have a large number of these hybrid animals, but has sold or given most of these away. I've seen a post in a couple of places of someone showing movies of his Bolson tortoise that he legally obtained from the El Paso Zoo. Please be aware that this animal is a Gopher tortoise hybrid, not a pure Bolson. Pure Bolsons are very rare. If you want to learn more about the Bolson Tortoise, please contact the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens or the El Paso Zoo.
 
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