October 22, 2014
LAS VEGAS (AP) - The federal government is taking the unusual step of beginning to sterilize an endangered species it is trying to save.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials say they have to curb the backyard breeding of desert tortoises because the growing population of unwanted pet tortoises diverts resources from efforts to preserve the species in the wild.
Captive tortoises threaten native populations because they can carry diseases with them when they escape or are released illegally in the desert.
The agency will hold a two-day clinic Aug. 27-28 in Las Vegas to teach a dozen veterinarians from Nevada, Arizona, California and Utah new sterilization techniques from the experts who pioneered them.
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