What we may think of as a common toy is bringing real danger to the wildlife in Joshua Tree National Park. Park Ranger Pam Tripp has this precaution……. Something commonly used for celebration or as a memorial, and thought of as a harmless decoration is one of the most hazardous threats to the desert tortoise and other wildlife in Joshua Tree National Park. One of the least known pollutants that affect our park is mylar, latex, or string balloons. They float in from areas such as Los Angeles, a distance so great that one might never consider the consequences one balloon could have on wildlife 140 miles away. Approximately 71,000 balloons make their way to Joshua Tree each year based on surveys done in the park. Bright, shiny balloons resemble wild flowers to animals and have been found in the stomachs of dead tortoises and other wildlife. Vegetation becomes entangled with balloon strings, and animals are again enticed to eat or use this foreign matter. In place of balloons, try bubbles or biodegradable party décor. This is a great way to help us protect our wildlife.