Bolson Tortoise Conservation

The Turtle Conservancy is working to purchase a significant portion of the last remaining habitat of the Bolson Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus). The largest of the North American terrestrial reptiles, this tortoise has been known to science only since 1959. The Bolson Tortoise inhabits a small area of Bolsón de Mapimí in the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico. The Mapimí Biosphere Reserve was created to protect this species, but much of this land is used for agricultural development and cattle grazing, which is threatening the tortoise’s habitat. The acquisition of this land in north central Mexico will protect the tortoise along with all other native flora and fauna including an estimated 28 mammals, over 200 bird species, 5 amphibians, and 39 reptiles.


Donations will go towards cattle fencing to keep out cattle that compete for food with tortoises. This project will require over 38 miles of wire fencing that will enable the tortoise to still roam freely. Additional funds will go towards research and population surveys.

About this Program

At the heart of the Mapimí Reserve is the Rancho San Ignacio – 43,589 acres of prime Bolson tortoise habitat. Our goal is to purchase this land and, with Mexican partners, manage it for the long-term protection of the tortoise and the rest of the rich biodiversity that also lives there. Land preservation is a priority of the Turtle Conservancy, and this particular property was chosen because of its size, geography, and ecological importance.


Turtle Conservancy Programs