The 10 year old Radiated Tortoise was missing from its exhibit when Zoo keepers arrived on Tuesday morning.
Perth Zoo’s Director of Life Sciences, Maria Finnigan, said: “This is an extremely rare tortoise and in danger of extinction.”
“The reason for the theft is unknown, however due to their stunning shells, Radiated Tortoise are heavily impacted by the illegal wildlife trade and regularly trafficked and sold on the black market”.
“We hold grave concerns for the tortoise. This species have a specialised diet and like all tortoises it needs help thermo regulating which is especially important at the moment as we are experiencing cooler mornings.”
“We would appeal to anyone who has any information to come forward. Our main concern is for the welfare of this animal, not prosecution,” said Maria.
At about 15 centimetres in diameter, this tortoise is a sub-adult and like all Radiated Tortoise is very distinctive with its stunning star shaped shell.
Radiated Tortoise are native to the island of Madagascar and the largest of the star tortoise. Feeding mainly on grasses, apart from the illegal wildlife trade, they’re critically endangered due to habitat loss, poaching and they are hunted for their shells which are often turned into ornaments.
Perth Zoo is appealing to anyone who may know any information to contact Kensington Police on
08-9474 7555 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Danielle Henry, Perth Zoo Media Manager
Ph: 08 9474 0383 M: 0438 950 643 E: firstname.lastname@example.org