Dwarf Tortoise, South Africa, Tortoise Conservation

Spring Tortoises of the Karoo

Springtime on the untouched veld of the Northern Cape, in South Africa, yields wild outbursts of flower power. The landscape harbors a wealth of bulbs — more than 1,350 species, including 80 endemics —  that don’t, and can’t, grow anywhere else.

Flora, South Africa

Helderberg Nature Reserve

Four months after the fire, the blackened fynbos was regenerating in the way it has for millennia. I was genuinely surprised to see so many flowers in bloom, especially considering this was a good six weeks after it normally would begin drying out for summer.

Aldabra giant tortoise, Islands, Rodrigues, Tortoise Conservation

François Leguat Reserve

I’m excited about François Leguat Reserve because it is quite literally dependent on giant tortoises to serve their natural ecological functions and help do their part in restoring a portion of the island’s coastal ecosystem. Today more than 3,000 tortoises live on the 20-hectare reserve — replacement species for the original tortoises that went extinct.

Tortoise Conservation

Turtle Survival Center

The 10-year-old Turtle Survival Center in the pinewoods of South Carolina’s coastal plain is ground zero for the TSA’s long-term management and captive breeding program in North America.

Mojave Desert, Mojave desert tortoise, Tortoise

Utah Tortoises

It’s February in St. George, Utah, snow is on the mountains, and I’m hiking in tortoise country with about 40 other tortoise nerds. We’re here for the Desert Tortoise Council symposium, and early arrivers like me are rewarded with a field trip.

Islands, Saint Helena

Saint Helena Island — Gallery

Scenes from the island of Saint Helena — a speck in the South Atlantic Ocean with 4,000 inhabitants but most well known for Napoleon and Jonathan the tortoise.

Jamestown, Saint Helena

Islands, Tortoise

On the Island of Saint Helena

The world’s most well-known living tortoise, Jonathan, is also one of the world’s most remote — living on a volcanic island a thousand miles off the coast of Africa.

Devil's Garden, Coachella Valley, Calif.

Coachella Valley, Flora, Mojave Desert

Desert Springtime – Gallery

The spring of 2022 was a dry one, and in the middle of an extended drought. But life still prevails. Seeds must be produced. These little flowers gave it everything they had to complete their lifecycle before another summer set in.

Mojave Desert, Mojave desert tortoise

Desert Tortoise U.

There’s an entire industry set up to manage tortoise populations. At the center of the action is the Desert Tortoise Council, a brain trust of biologists, ecologists, and conservationists who have been training people for 30 years to help protect these tortoises.

Sleeping Aldabra giant tortoise.

Tortoise, Writing

Why Tortoises? Why Now?

“When did you realize you that this was something that you were meant to write?” a friend asked. “Was there one thing that flipped the switch for you?”

Aldabra Atoll, Islands

Aldabra, Island Untouchable

Aldabra atoll is many things: It’s the second largest atoll in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to many endemic plants and animals including more than 100,000 giant tortoises. Two biologists share their experiences.

Pinnacle Rock, Bartolomé Island

Galápagos tortoise, Tortoise

Melville in the Galapagos

“What other bodily being possesses such a citadel wherein to resist the assaults of Time?” That’s Herman Melville talking about tortoises. In 10 vignettes he paints a portrait of the Galapagos Islands, and the tortoise is a recurring character.