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NJ Aldabras won't be going back home...

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Posted by: Ravenspirit at Mon Sep 26 03:26:02 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Ravenspirit ]  

I'm still seriously suspicious, and would want to see photos & dimensions of these "inappropriate enclosures" - Quoted - "cracked shells repaired with fiberglass, but veterinarians have not been able to determine the reason for them or the source of the unconventional repairs" Fiberglass on a tortoises shell "unconventional"? Makes me wonder what those vets would consider conventional to utilize to repair turtle shells, Play Dough? Hot Glue?

LACEY — Four tortoises rescued from a Highlands residence have upper-respiratory infections, but otherwise are resting comfortably at Popcorn Park Zoo while animal protection advocates search for a new permanent home for the reptiles.

Four Aldabra giant tortoises were confiscated two weeks ago from a Grand Tour residence in Highlands by animal protection authorities from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Associated Humane Societies’ Popcorn Park Zoo after the reptiles were found living in a pair of outside enclosures deemed unsuitable for them. The creatures are native to Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles, a southeast African archipelago nation.

“If those tortoises were just left out there, they would have died, and that is what we were afraid of most about this whole situation,” said Victor “Buddy” Amato, chief law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County SPCA.

Today the tortoises are being lodged at Popcorn Park Zoo, where they are eating and receiving veterinary care for upper-respiratory infections, a zoo official said.

The largest of the tortoises, the 600-pound Big Blackjack, who is said to be about 55 years old, has the most severe respiratory infection of the four, said John Bergmann, general manager at Popcorn Park Zoo.

“For the most part, they are eating well, and they are being treated with antibiotics for the respiratory infections,” Bergmann said.

Two tortoises — Big Blackjack and a 125-pound one — also were found to have cracked shells repaired with fiberglass, but veterinarians have not been able to determine the reason for them or the source of the unconventional repairs, Bergmann said.

The two smaller tortoises, weighing about 50 pounds each, were found with their shells intact, Bergmann said.

Authorities are trying to find suitable permanent homes for the four tortoises, but they may find a temporary home at the Cape May County Zoo for the winter, Amato said.

Authorities have had discussions with the Turtle Conservancy, headquartered at the New York Aquarium at Coney Island, which is attempting to arrange for possible housing for the tortoises at the Behler Chelonian Center in southern California or one of the conservancy’s sites in Madagascar, according to Amato.

The tortoises thrive in a temperature between 80 and 95 degrees and are known to dig underground burrows to cool themselves. But they do not do well in lower temperatures, especially those associated with winter in New Jersey, Amato said.

“Right now, with winter on the way, time is of the essence,” Amato said.

Cape May County Zoo already has committed to housing the four tortoises for the winter if a move to another location cannot be made, and zookeepers there also have offered to be the new permanent home for the reptiles, Amato said.

Popcorn Park Zoo is considering building a suitable habitat that would allow the tortoises to remain at that zoo, but that would not be complete in time for winter if it occurs at all, Amato said.

Aldabra tortoises are a threatened species second in size only to the Galapagos tortoise and are popular attractions at zoos around the country. Aldabra tortoises can be found at Zoo Atlanta, Who Zoo in Fort Worth, Texas, and the St. Louis and Philadelphia zoos.


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