|Posted by Sue on September 13, 2018 at 4:35 PM|
Meeting started at 7:30 p.m. with sixteen attendees. There were newcomers so everyone introduced themselves & mentioned if they had tortoises, were interested in adopting, or just interested in tortoises.
Items Available: Bob brought in several boxes of heat lamps donated to the club & available to anyone interested, bumper stickers reading “Let’s Talk Trash” which refers to removing trash from the wild tortoises’ environment, & flyers.
Treasurer’s Report: The club has approximately $5,000 in its account.
Ideas for using funds: Some funds are earmarked to repair the current sign at the tortoise enclosure at the museum.
Suggestions included using funds for additional & more permanent informational signs. Bob has prepared some wording for those signs & will continue. Square Print was suggested for preparing the signs.
Brochures & flyers specific to the Ridgecrest Chapter have already been printed & placed several places for interested parties to pick up.
Other suggestions for future spending might be to put signs outside of Ridgecrest asking people to beware of tortoises & not to pick them up (unless in danger on the road) with a saying such as “Unlawful to Pick Up Tortoises”, perhaps near Garlock, etc. There are signs already displaying “Tortoise Crossing”. Permission to post signs will have to be researched, probably starting with CalTrans.
Possibly a small scholarship (yearly?) to a continuing or transfering Cerro Coso student majoring in biological studies.
The Club subsidized, along with other donors, the Eagle Scout’s project constructing the tortoise enclosure at the museum. There are three or four tortoises in the enclosure right now. Other projects could be looked into for sponsoring.
General meeting topics:
President Bob Parker brought in a Red-Footed tortoise (with red spots) & a Leopard tortoise (4-5 years old) to the meeting. They had fun walking around the room! The red-footed tortoise is up for adoption, but the leopard tortoise will continue to be taken to outreach programs to the delight of students in the local classrooms.
The Leopard tortoise is originally from Africa. It is the fourth or fifth largest exotic tortoise in the world. If you want a leopard tortoise, it is a good idea to check tortoise clubs first for adoptions. At a pet store, a Leopard tortoise might cost $200 or more.
Bob talked about appropriate tortoise habitats and what to feed them. Aquariums are not suitable for tortoises. There is not enough air circulation.
It’s good if the tortoise cannot see through a fence in a proper enclosure as they like to escape. Russian tortoises seem to disappear in the enclosures & then suddenly show up sometimes months later.
Some good options for supplement feeding are collard greens, kale, dandelion greens, clover, & Bermuda grass. Romaine is okay if the tortoise needs more water in its diet. Do not feed most tortoises cat or dog food which is too high in animal protein.
In contrast the Red-Footed tortoise does eat animal protein. So one needs to be careful about information on tortoise care read on the internet.
Ravens: A number of years ago a survey was conducted to find out how many ravens were in the area. About 40 ravens were found. The last Christmas bird count conducted by local Audubon birders, noted over 400 ravens in the area. Ravens are on the list of migratory birds even though they don't migrate, & they are a native species in California. It would be beneficial to figure out how to keep the raven numbers down because they eat baby tortoises, lizards, & are pests at the pistachio orchards.
Bob mentioned that on YouTube Tim Shields, a Tortoise Biologist discusses his invention to discourage ravens. Tim lives in Alaska in the winter & the desert in summer. He has developed a green laser to point at the ravens, terrifying them. They fly away prompting the rest of the group of ravens to fly away also. And, those ravens do not return to the same place.
Another invention is a fake baby tortoise that comes apart when a raven tries to catch it. This startles the ravens & they fly away.
Ideas for Future Lecturers: Please submit ideas for future lecturers. Possibly, the Kern Crest Audubon would be willing to combine with our Club for a lecture. The Audubon society meets on the second or third Thursday of the month.
Events: The Ridgecrest Petroglyph Festival: is November 3-4. The Club will once again be represented by Bob Parker giving a program at the museum titled “Reptiles of Indian Wells Valley”. The Ridgecrest Snake Hunters Club will also be there.
Adjourned 8:25 p.m.