Giant tortoise on the run no more

by

Staff Writer

Two weeks after going on the lam, a giant tortoise that went missing from a zoo in Okayama Prefecture has been found safe and sound in bushes about 140 meters away from the spot where she made her getaway.

The man and his teenage son, whose name are being withheld, will collect a ¥500,000 reward for finding the female Aldabra giant tortoise named Aboo, which they discovered around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The tortoise, which disappeared from Shibukawa Animal Park in the city of Tamano, Okayama Prefecture, was last seen on the morning of Aug. 1.

“I feel relieved. From now on, we’ll make sure to take perfect care of our animals,” said zoo worker Yoshimi Yamane, adding that the tortoise was in perfect condition and suffered no injury.

The tortoise “is now being given plenty of food to eat,” she said.

The zoo announced Tuesday a cash reward for the return of the giant tortoise in the hopes of encouraging nearby residents to join the search.

Yamane said the family of the man and the who boy who received the award will be receiving free passes to the zoo with no expiration date, so they can pay a visit to Aboo anytime, she added.

Earlier on Wednesday, another zoo official Tatsuaki Murase said Aboo was allowed to roam freely in an unenclosed area and had never tried to escape since coming to the zoo in 2004. However, surveillance camera footage showed her leaving the area on Aug. 1.

Since a tortoise’s walking speed is, at most, a slow pace, Murase had suspected that Aboo had been kidnapped.

Visitors, especially children, adore Aboo and she is “one of the popular animals at the zoo,” Murase said.