Airdate: Feb 11, 2019
Scientist: Peter Laufer
Turtles - Havens and Hazards
Both help and harm can come from unexpected places.
Turtles Havens and HazardsTurtles are endangered worldwide by loss of their natural habitat, mostly due to human incursion. Sometimes, both harm and help can come from unexpected places. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Laufer: There are tortoises in the Mojave Desert along the California/Nevada border, who have lived there forever. Peter Laufer is a professor of journalism and the author of the book "Dreaming in Turtle". Laufer: They're in conflict now with solar farms that are taking advantage of the weather there to generate electricity, in order to put these massive energy generating plants in the habitat of these turtles and tortoises. They get trans-shipped to other locales where they don't thrive. Where they're imposing on the ranges of their relatives. Hence, they succumb to what one would think would be a compatible industry. Because the desert tortoise in the Mojave is protected, in order to build the solar farms the companies have to move, in what supposedly is a safe way, the tortoises out to another locale. When they do that, they're imposing on the range of other tortoises and they too often succumb at extraordinarily high mortality rates.You would think that oil fields would likewise be tough on turtles, but that isn't always the case.Laufer: There's a stretch of 100 kilometers of beach in Gabone which is a defacto sea turtle preserve, because just adjacent to it is an oil field and no one's allowed where the oil production is taking place. So the sea turtles are protected by an aggressive extraction industry.I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.