Coalition for a Balanced Environment

The Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee is a proud supporter of the Coalition for a Balanced Environment. This organization is supported by a group of like-minded organizations, all working to enhance and refine raven management practices throughout California. Additional supporters include:

  • Desert Tortoise Council
  • Turtle Conservancy
  • Ovocontrol
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • AquaHelio Resources, LLC
  • Oasis Lifecycle Solutions, LLC
juvenile shell

Depredated juvenile tortoise shell

Ravens are predators that prey on desert tortoises, songbirds, lizards, and anything else they can eat. Juvenile tortoise shells have been found in large quantities directly below raven nests. Not only do ravens pick off juvenile tortoises whose shells have not yet hardened, they have also learned how to successfully attack adult tortoises. Given that female tortoises do not reproduce until after the age of 10, and only lay approximately five eggs per clutch, depredation on juveniles and adults can have a significant effect of a population’s ability to replace itself.

tortoise in tree

Adult depredated tortoise in a tree

raven line

Numerous Ravens atop a power line. Photo Credit: Hardshell Labs, Inc.

Raven populations have rapidly increased over the past several decades due to human subsidies such as trash, water, and road kills. Ravens were typically scarce in the desert region but are now found in large populations of up to 1,000 individuals. Their presence is having a very negative effect on tortoise populations as well as other species, and human industries. The Coalition for a Balanced Environment is working to halt the increase in raven numbers by working with local and state agencies to reduce subsidies to ravens and manage their populations. To find out more about the Coalition for a Balanced Environment, visit their website.

To view a video discussing the effects ravens have on the desert tortoise, click here.

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