National Defense Authorization Act

Marines, looking to expand Twentynine Palms training grounds, airlift 1,100 desert tortoises

Marines, looking to expand Twentynine Palms training grounds, airlift 1,100 desert tortoises

More than 1,000 desert tortoises are taking a trip with the Marine Corps this month.

The military is using helicopters to relocate the tortoises to another part of the Mojave to make way for an expansion of its desert training grounds.

During the two-week-long process, the hubcap-sized tortoises are being loaded into plastic containers, which are then stacked and strapped to a helicopter.

Their new home will be swaths of federal land to the north and southeast of the Twentynine Palms base, Marine officials said. The areas were deemed far enough away that the tortoises wouldn’t migrate back to the original habitat.

The cost of the whole effort, including a 30-year...

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