Backlog of unwanted desert tortoises

Backlog of unwanted desert tortoises

CREATED Jul 11, 2012

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Humans who break the law are putting the desert tortoise in danger.  

The Arizona Game and Fish tells 9OYS people illegally capturing the desert tortoise has backlogged the amount of tortoises up for adoption.   

“It is unlawful to collect tortoises from the wild,” said Locana De Souza with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

De Souza said there are numerous problem with people capturing the desert critter.  

“When people get more than one tortoise and they'll get a male and a female you'll have a lot of breeding,” she explained.

Besides the breeding concerns, she said tortoises really don’t like having companions and prefer to be alone.  She said since they live so long, too, they often outlive their owners.

“It is a constant struggle to find homes for tortoises,” she said.

 9OYS asked De Souza if the tortoises can be dropped back off in the desert.

“No,” she answered.

She explained due to potiental diseases the captured tortoise may spread to those in the wild, it is not safe to put them back in the desert. It is also dangerous, she explained, to randomly put them back in a spot they are unfamiliar with.

Those looking to adopt one of a captured desert tortoise need to fill out an application.  Visit  for an application and more information on taking care of them.