Mountain tortoises rescued
Nine reptiles kept to ward off evil spirits confiscated from PE homes
Nine mountain tortoises have been confiscated from Port Elizabeth homes since Friday, with five of the reptiles taken from a Rowallan Park house yesterday.
The Animal Anti-Cruelty League confiscated all the tortoises – two with holes in their shells for chains to stop them from wandering off.
Animal Anti-Cruelty League animal rescue volunteer Suzette Ludeke said holes were usually drilled into the shells to use the tortoises to ward off evil spirits.
“People often do not realise that it is painful for the animal to have a hole drilled into its cartilage,” she said.
The two tortoises with drilled holes were confiscated from houses in Rowallan Park yesterday and New Brighton on Friday.
“We found the one tortoise in New Brighton with a drilled hole in a terrible state,” she said.
The five tortoises – including the one with a drilled hole – were taken from a Rowallan Park house after the new homeowners discovered them left on the property in a concrete box.
The three remaining tortoises were confiscated in New Brighton. Two more injured tortoises were found in bushes in Lorraine yesterday.
A tortoise in Morningside and two in Rowallan Park were also voluntarily handed over yesterday.
Animal Anti-Cruelty League inspector Beverly Rademeyer warned that it was best for people to report stray tortoises rather than keep them as pets.
“When people come across a tortoise in the road or at someone’s house, they should rather report it because often we find the tortoises are not looked after properly.
“They are either dehydrated or not fed properly and if you don’t know how to take care of them it could have dire consequences for the animal.” Rademeyer said.
Housing a tortoise without a permit is a criminal offence which could see perpetrators face fines of up to R30 000, or even prosecution.
Rademeyer said while keeping tortoises as pets was not encouraged, people could apply for permits which were only awarded if a number of regulations were put in place.
She said 95% of tortoises they have rescued have been rehabilitated.
The rescued tortoises will be kept at a rehabilitation centre.