Stolen tortoise anonymously returned to Perth Zoo

Stolen tortoise anonymously returned to Perth Zoo

An endangered radiated tortoise is recovering with vets at Perth Zoo after being anonymously returned five days after it was stolen from its enclosure.

The 10-year-old tortoise, which could fetch thousands of dollars in the illegal wildlife trade, was found in a backpack dumped outside Kensington Police Station on Saturday evening.

A security review of the radiated tortoises’ enclosure is ongoing and none of the rare animals, which are native to Madagascar and critically endangered, are currently on display to visitors.

But zoo staff said security at that enclosure was already one of the tightest because of the black market demands and it had been upgraded in 2011 after two tortoises were stolen.

Staff had discovered this young tortoise missing from its enclosure at the African safari display when they arrived at work on Tuesday morning but it is unclear exactly when it was taken.

Veterinarian Karen Payne said the tortoise had been covered in faeces which it was found by police – a sign it was stressed – but checks had found no obvious wounds or injuries.

She said the tortoise would be kept in quarantine for a few days to make sure it was eating and drinking and to ensure no other radiated tortoises were put at risk by being exposed to anything the stolen animal had outside the zoo.

It was being welcomed back with a platter of fruit and vegetables – including its favourite foods, hibiscus flowers and strawberries.
Dr Payne said it was concerning anyone would steal an animal, particularly one that needed specialised care, but she was grateful it was now home.