The mission: to airlift 1,156 desert tortoises to a place where there's no threat of being flattened by tanks. 

The Marines are this month moving the reptiles out of a corner of California's Mojave Desert where the Corps will soon begin extensive live-fire training, the Los Angeles Times reports. Packed up two per plastic bin, the hubcap-sized creatures are being loaded into helicopters and flown 25 miles away to federal lands beyond the Marines' Twentynine Palms base northeast of Palm Springs. 

Their new home is far enough away to keep tortoises from wandering back into the line of fire when the Marines begin "longer and more involved" training exercises this summer that the Press-Enterprise reports will better position them to carry out missions in "global hot spots."

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