EVENT: 2014 PIA Small Blue Dot
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and our Twitter page at www.twitter.com/projecthardshel
See our first video about saving the Desert Tortoise here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkdZiuGhTtY
This campaign is designed to raise awareness and money for the biologists and the students they work with who are researching and employing cutting edge techniques to save the wonderful and endangered Desert Tortoise. The population of the Desert Tortoise has decreased by as much as 90% in some areas since the 1980s. Meanwhile, between 1975 and 1995, Common Raven numbers in the west Mojave climbed 1000% due to the resources humans make available to these opportunistic birds. Biologists are experimenting with brand new tools such as high-powered lasers to repel these Ravens that are attacking and eating juvenile Desert Tortoises. In fact, only an estimated 2-5% of hatchlings ever reach maturity. The goal is not to kill Ravens, but rather to scare off and otherwise deter them (by using their amazing memory ability against them) from using Desert Tortoises as a food source. Desert Tortoises are quickly disappearing and we need to do anything and everything we can do keep them alive and get them off the endangered species list! Thus, the work at the Lewis Center is intended to add new items to the tool box available for the job of tortoise conservation.
Desert Tortoises are tough and crusty old critters that can reach ages up to 80 years old! For millions of years, the Desert Tortoise has endured and thrived by being very sharp and resourceful. They live in a stingy environment and must be ready to take advantage of every opportunity, avoid every hazard they can, and survive the ones they can't with their armored covering. They spend about 15 to 20 years reaching sexual maturity and have rich and complex social lives including relationships that stretch over many decades. It is no accident that human cultures revere and respect them: they represent a model of calm wisdom and good heartedness.
All the proceeds raised will go to the Lewis Center for Educational Research for Project Hardshell, an innovative program combining field studies of tortoises and ravens with the education of a new generation of tortoise conservationists.