Projects and Research

The Carlsbad and Palm Springs offices support numerous research efforts with a range of partners in order to learn more about listed species and their habitats and inform conservation strategies. In 2020, we contributed more than $1 million to support 26 cooperative agreements accomplishing on-the-ground conservation.

Raven Management Program

Desert tortoises face a growing threat from increased populations of ravens in their habitat. Partners, including: the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Department of Defense, and Hardshell Labs have been experimenting with different strategies to reduce common raven predation on the desert tortoise.

Humane, innovative technological solutions such as aerial egg oiling, and the use of 3D printed replicas of juvenile tortoises, called 'techno-torts,' are being tested as adverse conditioning on ravens. It is hoped that ravens may learn to avoid tortoises and pass that aversion to their young.

The Desert Tortoise Recovery Program works to provide effective and coordinated recovery, research, and monitoring activities for the Mojave Desert Tortoise; provide a sound and defensible scientific basis for decision-making; assess the benefits of recovery actions; provide information and syntheses; facilitate communication of progress toward, and maintain an open dialogue regarding, desert tortoise recovery goals; and provide greater credibility and support for recovery efforts.