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from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: ….. “The Mojave desert tortoise is a keystone species, which means it has a higher influence over the ecosystem than other species. Many other species use their burrows and benefit from having the desert tortoises around, including the Gila monster, collared peccaries, roadrunners, and burrowing owls.”

City of Saint George, Washington County
Installed June 2024

In celebration of the

Mojave Desert Tortoise


In June 2024, the latest Utah Wildlife Walls mural was installed in downtown St. George that celebrates the Mojave Desert Tortoise. In partnership with the City of Saint George, the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, Greater Zion, and Station Two Bar, Utah artist Chris Peterson designed  a mural to celebrate the Desert Tortoise and the Gila Monster- two of the iconic threatened local species. The mural is located on the south-facing facade of 142 N. Main Street and Zion Brewery's Station Two Bar.



Help protect habitat for the desert tortoise

A lot of work goes into helping tortoises thrive where they can still be found: fences are built and maintained along roadways, invasive plants are treated to prevent wildfires, and recreation is carefully planned to limit disturbance or harm. The public also plays a vital role in either helping or hurting the species’ chance of recovery. Please stay on trail and obey the rules for recreation wherever you’re visiting — this will protect fragile habitat and prevent accidental mortalities. Please pack out any trash you find (or create), especially food waste. Ravens and other predators will be attracted to trails and parking areas where garbage accumulates. Obey all posted fire restrictions to keep wildfires from damaging the last refuges of the wild tortoise. These are just a few ways your actions can directly benefit this sensitive species.

Red Cliffs Reserve

Visit the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Discovery Center to learn more about the Mojave desert tortoise and other local wildlife.

When you enter by one of the Reserve’s distinctive “step-over” gates, you are accessing a special place: a place that is a privilege to visit. Not just another hiking trail or bike route, you are entering a wildlife reserve spanning almost 69,000 acres. Set aside to protect the Mojave Desert tortoise and other rare plants and animals, the reserve sits at the merging of three great ecosystems: the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau.

The Reserve is biologically rich with a unique array of animals and plants. It is home to the most northern populations of the desert tortoise, Gila monstersidewinder rattlesnake, and chuckwalla — reptiles typically associated with hotter and more southerly deserts like the Mojave. A significant portion of the shrubs in this area, such as blackbrush, are more commonly found in the cooler Great Basin Desert. The conditions in the region are such that several endemic species (those which occur no where else in the world) are found here.

Map to visit the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

111 E. Tabernacle St., St. George, Utah

Call us: 435-301-7430


We’re open Mon-Fri, 8 am-5pm

Thanks to our local partners!

Utah Wildlife Walls is a grassroots arts and engagement project that is only made possible through key partnerships. Big thanks to our partners on this project!

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