Continued and Enhanced Community-Based Maintenance and Monitoring of the Bolson Tortoise Ecosystem Preserve

Timeframe: 2021-2023
Country/Region: Mexico
Partner: Turtle Conservancy

The Bolson Tortoise is North America’s largest terrestrial reptile and lives exclusively in the Chihuahuan Desert’s Bolson de Mapimí in Mexico. They play a significant role as ecosystem engineers by digging large burrows to thermoregulate through periods of extreme hot and cold. These are in turn used by tens of other species who share this habitat with them.

Much of the land in this region is used for agricultural development and cattle grazing that contribute to habitat degradation and destruction – a threat further exacerbated by climate change.

To save the remarkable Bolson Tortoise from extinction, Fondation Segré is supporting a project implemented by Turtle Conservancy and its local partner Habio A.C. at the Bolson Tortoise Ecosystem Preserve, a 250 square kilometres private reserve that harbours a substantial portion of the remaining global population of this Critically Endangered species.

By using the Bolson Tortoise as a flagship species, the project will contribute to promote species recovery through habitat protection and restoration while also protecting other Chihuahuan Desert biodiversity at the preserve, including lesser known but ecologically important species. Local communities are an integral part of the long-term strategy for the conservation of this habitat and its species.