In early May, TC Board Chair Anders Rhodin and TC field programs director Peter Paul van Dijk visited Mexico to evaluate progress in management of the Bolson Tortoise Ecosystem Preserve by the TC’s local affiliate HABIO, A.C. Working with HABIO’s treasurer Judith Rios, progress was made towards full-time management of the Preserve, while we also continue to work towards possible future expansion of strictly protected areas for Bolson Tortoises (Gopherus flavomarginatus).
Among the highlights were the opportunity provided by our colleague Gamaliel Castañeda to give presentations to a large gathering of students and staff of the Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango at Gomez Palacio; Anders spoke about the conservation status of tortoises and freshwater turtles world-wide, while Peter Paul spoke about the opportunities and challenges of private protected areas for biodiversity conservation. A daytrip with Gamaliel into the Bolson de Mapimi showed that the rains of recent months have flooded the main water basin, and quite a variety of waterbirds were feeding at the wetland. A short excursion to the Rio Nazas, west of Gomez Palacio, with Gamaliel and colleagues, documented several basking Nazas Sliders (Trachemys gaigeae hartwegi), a restricted-range species that we hope to become more involved with in the future.