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San Diego Zoo Uses GPS To Help Tortoises

— The San Diego Zoo outfitted 36 desert tortoises with radio transmitters, 24 of them with GPS systems, to track their movements and habitat choices in Nevada, the park announced today.

Scientists with the zoo's Institute for Conservation Research placed the tortoises south of Las Vegas Wednesday.

"Our mission is to aid in the recovery of the desert tortoise,'' according to Paula Kahn, the institute's conservation program manager. "We are using science to refine translocation methods that we can use to ensure desert tortoises have the greatest chance for survival.''

The scientists hope to find out the best conditions into which to tortoises should be released in the wild.

The desert tortoise is considered to be "threatened'' under the Endangered Species Act, where it has been listed since 1980.

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