Fragmentation of fragile habitat has added to the woes of the once-hardy desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizi). They are collected from soon-to-be-developed lands and sent to a center where they are adopted, euthanized (if ill), or used for research.
South of Los Angeles the implacable sprawl of single-family homes like these has reached critical mass. Or so think local environmentalists, who are challenging new developments to safeguard dwindling parcels of coastal sage scrub, habitat of the California gnatcatcher. Increasingly, developers compromise by setting aside land for imperiled species.