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Wind Turbines Affect Behavior of Desert Tortoise Predators

Wind Turbines Affect Behavior of Desert Tortoise Predators - Wind Farm Design Layout Impacts Species Success

By Jennifer LaVista on May 3, 2017 in Environment

How a wind energy facility is designed can influence the behavior of animal predators and their prey, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists placed motion-activated cameras facing the entrances of 46 active desert tortoise burrows in a wind energy facility near Palm Springs, California. Video recordings showed that visits to burrows from five predators — bobcatsgray foxescoyotesblack bears and western spotted skunks — increased closer to dirt roads, and decreased closer to wind turbines.

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Desert tortoise with radio tracking deviceA radio-tracked desert tortoise basks in the sun next to wind turbines near Palm Springs. (Mickey Agha/UC Davis)
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