The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild.

Press Room


Family-Friendly Celebration To Be Held Saturday, September 30
TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA • August 31, 2017

Contact: Erin Scott
Sr. Marketing and Public Relations Manager
760-346-5694 x.2610

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens and the Twenty- Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians are partnering to create awareness of the vulnerable desert tortoise. They will be hosting a family-friendly celebration of the desert tortoise on Saturday, September 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside Tortoise Rock Casino, 73829 Baseline Rd., Twentynine Palms.

The day’s events, open to all ages, include encounters with a live desert tortoise, interactive learning experiences, educational chats, crafts, games, face painting, photo booth, and music. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and take a photo with The Living Desert’s Mojave Maxine mascot. In addition, there will be giveaways and a free barbeque boxed lunch by Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, while supplies last.

“The Living Desert is thrilled to partner with the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians to help educate the public about our precious desert tortoises,” said Allen Monroe, President and CEO of The Living Desert. “It’s important for people to know that the desert tortoise is classified as a threatened species. If the public understands their plight, they can take actions to help ensure they have a long, healthy future.”

The desert tortoise is the grand survivor of California’s desert, having roamed the land for tens of thousands of years. To escape the extreme heat, desert tortoises spend most their time underground in burrows and venture out to mainly eat and drink. Desert tortoise numbers are declining due to the expanding human population and other environmental factors, such as increased predators. Many people are unaware that ravens are a major predator of desert tortoises. Uncovered trash bins have contributed to an increase in raven populations, causing further declines in desert tortoise numbers. Researchers are closely monitoring the tortoise populations and working to address the many threats.

According to The Living Desert, the following are some tips to protect these animals: Keep the desert clean, do not touch or disturb desert tortoise in the wild, stay on designated roads and trails, check under parked vehicles, and always watch for tortoises on roads and trails.

The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians knows that protecting the desert tortoise is a long- term effort. The Tribe established a conservation area in 2013 for tortoise protection, and continues to spread the word by training employees and conducting outreach.

“Not only is the desert tortoise, or ‘Aya, woven into our ancestral Chemehuevi heritage as a symbol of wisdom, but Tortoise Rock Casino was named to celebrate its significant role in our desert ecosystem,” said Darrell Mike, Chairman of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. “This is a great

opportunity for families to join us for a fun and entertaining day, while learning how to protect the threatened desert tortoise.”

For more information about The Living Desert visit For more information about Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians and Tortoise Rock Casino, visit

About The Living Desert:
The Living Desert is an AZA-accredited zoo and gardens that is dedicated to desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation. It is a family-friendly place to explore nature and create meaningful experiences for guests that are remembered for a lifetime. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit The Living Desert is located at: 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260.

About the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians:
The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians trace their origins back to the Chemehuevi, a peaceful and nomadic Tribe whose territory once covered parts of California, Utah, Arizona, and Southern Nevada. In 1867, a group of Chemehuevi settled at the Oasis of Mara in Twentynine Palms. The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians are their descendants. Today, the Tribe’s Reservation lands consist of two parcels, which are located near the town of Twentynine Palms and the City of Coachella. The Tribe’s two economic enterprises, Tortoise Rock Casino and Spotlight 29 Casino, help provide housing, education and financial security for the Tribe’s future generations.