Stop the planned killing of desert tortoises
  • Petitioned Amy Lueders
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

State Director, Nevada Bureau of Land Management
Amy Lueders
See response
U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Jeannie Stafford
See response
Nevada Governor
Nevada State Senate
Nevada State House

Stop the planned killing of desert tortoises

    1. Seth Webster
    2. Petition by

      Seth Webster

      New York, NY

News recently broke that the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center near Las Vegas is running out of funds and many tortoises may be euthanized! Please sign to help to make sure the Bureau of Land Management & U.S. Fish and Wildlife do everything they can do save these animals unless there is legitimate health reason to consider.

After caring for approximately 1400 desert tortoises, the Bureau of Land Management & U.S. Fish and Wildlife no longer have the funds to continue to operate the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center near Las Vegas. These animals have been in the Southwest for 200 million years, we can't just sit here and let them die. Transition plans are being discussed right now, so every day counts as we consider what is in these amazing animals' best interest.

The BLM and USFWS say that they will attempt to return as many to the wild as are healthy, but as a last resort, they will euthanize. Instead of finding an alternate method, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service may euthanize hundreds of tortoises who are no longer fit for survival in the wild -- many of these animals were pets, turned over to the Center. But there are many suggestions from people who want to donate land, money, time, and help adopt some of the animals into suitable environments rather than see them put to death.

Experts in this article estimate that number (to be euthanized) in the hundreds. Please show your support and ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to cease plans to euthanize and find another way. It's important that people everywhere show support so they know the whole world is watching and offering a helping hand.

**UPDATE August 27**

Fish and Wildlife Service called and stated emphatically that they are not euthanizing all of the tortoises and tried to blame the press for misleading people. However, when I requested an approximate number of tortoises that would be euthanized, they were unable to provide that number. An inside source close to the facility estimates that number to be around 200.

The fact remains that many of these tortoises may be killed despite other non-lethal options to re-home them. All we're trying to do is make sure the appropriate agencies do their due diligence in trying to save all the tortoises who can continue to live in peace.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 50,000 signatures
    2. Fish and Wildlife Services Conference, Friday

      Seth Webster
      Petition Organizer

      Great news! Fish & Wildlife Services have agreed to a meeting we're doing so tomorrow. We'll be meeting with Humane Society of US and other rescues/sanctuaries I've been able to muster who are excited to ensure that none of these tortoises are euthanized!

      Thanks to all of you for your continued and amazing support!

      Please, share this petition and help keep the pressure on!

    3. Reached 40,000 signatures
    4. Received a call from Fish & Wildlife Service

      Seth Webster
      Petition Organizer

      Fish and Wildlife Service called and stated emphatically that they are not euthanizing all of the tortoises, which we already knew and stated that the original article was incomplete.

      They are only euthanizing those tortoises which are deemed too unhealthy for adoption or survive in the wild or cohabitate with the general population as they may spread whatever disease they have and further threaten the recovery effort.

      I requested an approximate number of tortoises that would be euthanized and she was unable to provide that number. An inside source close to the facility estimates that number to be around 200.

      I offered that plenty of people are generously requesting that they be allowed to donate to provide care for the tortoises, and she informed me that other organizations were making efforts to assist as well but that help is coming too slowly. I am reaching out to these other organizations tomorrow.

    5. Reached 500 signatures
    6. Decision-maker Jeannie Stafford responds:

      Jeannie Stafford

      Please be advised there was an error in the Associated Press articles.

      Aug 26, 2013

      Statement Regarding Media Reports on Status of Desert Tortoise at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Nevada

      Recent media reports regar...

    7. They're hearing us.

      Seth Webster
      Petition Organizer

      BLM has responded to petition already and (urged) referred us to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who is responsible for the tortoises. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife has updated their VM with info about the tortoises. They say they are only euthanizing those which are too ill to return to the wild or that pose a threat (disease) to general populations.

      The expert in this article estimates the number to be euthanized in the hundreds:

      Here's the # BLM has asked us to call for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and I have added them as a recipient of your signatures here as well.



      Desert tortoise faces threat from its own refuge as BLM closes Vegas rescue center

      But the pampered desert dweller now faces a threat from the very people who have nurtured it. Federal funds are running out at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center and officials plan to close the site and euthanize hundreds of the tortoises they've been caring for since the animals were added to the endangered species list in 1990.

    8. Reached 100 signatures
    9. Decision-maker Amy Lueders responds:

      Amy Lueders

      Please know that BLM is not euthanizing an tortoises. The Desert Tortoise Conservation Center funding will rung out in September 2014. However, all healthy tortoises will be moved to the wild before that time.

      The BLM is only in charge...

    10. Reached 25 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Amanda Dunn LAS VEGAS, NV
      • 3 months ago

      This is disgusting for them to be killing these tortoises. The reason they are doing this is because they ran out of funding...SO LETS GIVE THEM MORE!! I have two of my own and this is just so sad.

    • Toni-Anne Werni YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY
      • 3 months ago

      These girls need to punished for this horrible evil act on an innocent tortoise.

    • Celeste Navrkal GRANTS PASS, OR
      • 3 months ago

      Tortoises happen to be my totem sign. I really appreciate their continued plodding along to succeed in whatever endeavor they put their mind too.

    • jonathan webster FERRING SUSSEX, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 4 months ago

      I am chairman of Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust in the UK , these are a unique and endangered species and should be conserved for future generations

    • Keith Corbett TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND
      • 4 months ago

      Having had > 50 years involved

      in threatened European herpetofaunal

      conservation (and now on into retirement !), I am appalled at

      this news, and not least since it

      was felt that the Desert Tortoise problem was under

      control, if not actually resolved.


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