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Federal authorities approve California tortoise removal

Marines wait for a desert tortoise - endangered and protected from harm or harassment by federal law - to move off the road during an operation at Marine Corps' Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., on April 4, 2008. Federal authorities have approved a plan to move nearly 1,500 desert tortoises from the base.

REED SAXON/AP

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: March 4, 2017

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — Federal authorities have approved a plan to move nearly 1,500 desert tortoises from a California Marine base.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says the Navy and the Bureau of Land Management have signed off on the proposal.

The Marine Corps wants to remove the tortoises from about 88,000 acres of land at the Twentynine Palms base in the Mojave Desert so it can use the area for training.

Exercises with tanks and live ammunition are scheduled to begin in August.

The removal could begin at the end of this month or in April after the reptiles emerge from their underground winter hibernation.

The tortoises would be flown by helicopter to BLM land near Barstow.

Critics say the move will devastate the threatened species.

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Information from: The Press-Enterprise
 

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