Fears critically endangered tortoise stolen from Perth Zoo sold on black market
A critically endangered tortoise has been stolen from Perth Zoo.
The rare tortoise was considered highly prized on the black market.
Zoo staff believe the 10-year-old radiated tortoise was stolen Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
'They're highly prized on the black market,” A Perth Zoo spokeswoman told AAP.
Police are currently assisting to help find the tortoise, which is 10-15cm in diameter.
“A lot of the individuals that we have here have come to us via wildlife seizures at customs or international borders, taken from smugglers,” she said.
Perth Zoo life sciences director Maria Finnigan said she held grave fears for the tortoise, as they were often killed for their shells, which were then turned into ornaments.
“This is an extremely rare tortoise and in danger of extinction,” Ms Finnigan said.
The tortoise, native to Madagascar, is a sub-adult and about 15cm in diameter, Ms Finnigan says.
“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,” she said.
The tortoise is currently too young for keepers to tell what sex it is.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au