Monday, January 10, 2011

Tortoises Relocated for SoCal Solar Power Plant Sick

Five threatened desert tortoises relocated to build a solar energy plant in northeast San Bernardino County have been found to have a respiratory ailment.

Biologists working for BrightSource Energy Co., which is building a solar project in the Ivanpah Valley, tested blood from 32 desert tortoises for two types of bacteria that causes respiratory infections and have contributed to the decline of the species.

Five of the animals have or are suspected of being infected. Federal wildlife officials will require that the sick tortoises be quarantined while the healthy animals will be returned to the wild.

The Oakland-based company broke ground in October for the plant which is expected to generate enough electricity for about 140,000 homes.


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