"Establishing Avi Kwa Ame National Monument is excellent news for the embattled desert tortoise that continues to trend toward extinction in the face of expanding development."

Vera Smith, Senior Policy Analyst at Defenders of Wildlife
Washington, D.C.

Today,President Biden announced his commitment to establish a new national monument, Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, in southern Nevada. Defenders of Wildlife applauds the establishment of Avi Kwa Ame, meaning “Spirit Mountain,” because it includes areas that are sacred to many tribes and very important habitat for numerous at-risk species including the threatened desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, migratory birds, and rare plants.  

“Establishing Avi Kwa Ame National Monument is excellent news for the embattled desert tortoise that continues to trend toward extinction in the face of expanding development,” said Vera Smith, Senior Policy Analyst at Defenders of Wildlife. “The monument would link together key tortoise habitat in Nevada and California and creates important wildlife corridors for bighorn sheep.”

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Mojave desert tortoise
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Designating the nearly 380,000 acres of sacred tribal and biologically significant lands in the Mojave Desert as a national monument would permanently protect lands that have historically been sought for large-scale industrial energy projects. Avi Kwa Me National Monument will protect critical habitat for the desert tortoise, migratory pathways for bighorn sheep and migratory birds, and numerous rare and threatened plants including Joshua trees that are being evaluated for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

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Senior Federal Lands Policy Analyst

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