NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Tortoises are roaming a New Mexico ranch in an effort to boost the population of a rare species. On Friday, September 22, 20 Bolson tortoises were released at the Armendaris Ranch.

The relocation is part of an agreement between U.S. Wildlife officials and the Turner Endangered Species Fund. The species was discovered in the late 1950s, and information about that type of tortoise is still limited.

Currently, the population of Bolson tortoises is estimated to be less than 2,500, with most of them residing in New Mexico. The ranch is home to a captive population of the species with the goal of conserving the Bolson tortoise population through protection, breeding, release, and tracking.

Armendaris Ranch is now home to 43 adult tortoises and dozens of juvenile tortoises. The ranch has worked with the Carlsbad Zoo on the conservation effort since 2006; in that time, they have hatched more than 400 tortoises.