May 18, 2017 03:27 AM EDT
Researchers recently examined the death of desert tortoises in the Southern California. A recent study shows the tortoises died while desperately trying to reproduce despite the harsh situations.
Scientists are examining to discover the reason behind the death of the greater number of female tortoises than male in the Joshua Tree National Park. Jeffrey Lovich, the biologist of the U.S. Geological Survey, opined that these animals were desperate to fight the extinction, ABC News reported. Lovich called it the "evolutionary gamble", an attempt to reproduce even when facing the harsh conditions. It is believed that these animals were trying to lay eggs when California is facing the historic drought.
Jeffrey Lovich reveals that the female tortoises try to produce or lay eggs during a drought. During this time they need water that they don't have. A team of researchers led by Lovich surveyed an area to discover the real fact regarding the death of these animals.
The research team uncovers the remains of the 33 male and 14 female tortoises. Even they found 15 live animals that include a majority of male members. The researchers minutely examined the carcasses and the bones of the animals that died during the last 5 to 10 years. California experienced a severe drought for five consecutive years during this time.
It is true that the situation is over now with the advent of the wettest winter in California. But, the risk for the tortoises could exist in the desert areas with the increasing temperature there. Like the whole world, these animals are also facing the impacts of the climate change.
The tortoise population of the Joshua Tree National Park drastically decreased for the last three decades from 30,000 to 3,000. No doubt the number shows how climate change severely affected these animals. The decreasing trend is quite alarming and at the same time very shocking.
The authority of the Joshua Tree National Park in California has recently asked people to drive safely there, according to the U.S. News. A few months ago the death of three desert tortoises by vehicles created great concerns among the officials. The authority opined that the increasing number of visitors in the recent years is a crucial factor for these animals.
Desert tortoises are regarded as one of the threatened species that mostly have a lifespan of 50 years. Though some of them live for 80 years. Now the deaths of these animals indicate the urgency of proper intervention to save this species.