Magazine article Sunset

Face to Face with Desert Creatures ... near Palm Springs

Magazine article Sunset

Face to Face with Desert Creatures ... near Palm Springs

Article excerpt

Face to face with desert creatures . . . near Palm Springs

Prickly plants and exotic animals from the world's deserts can be seen at close range in The Living Desert in Palm Desert, 13 miles southeast of Palm Springs.

Among the animals in this reserve are a pair of Arabian oryx and a Mohrr gazelle, both endangered species. Adopted from San Diego Wild Animal Park's captive breeding program, these majestic beasts join more than 200 other desert animals, including a herd of bighorn sheep, in the 1,200-acre reserve.

A 1/4-mile, wheelchair-accessible pathway from the visitor center leads to three new desert gardens.

A Baja garden features the starkly tapered boojum tree and other flora native to the arid peninsula; a 1/3-acre cienega (fresh-water pond) should play host to migrating cranes, egrets, and great blue herons in December; and a new primitive garden includes flora from the Paleozoic era: cycads, ferns, and ginkgos. In an older Mojave garden, desert tortoises and burrowing owls coexist in an expansive new encolsure.

In all, the reserve has 6 miles of hiking trails. …

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