Atlanta zoo mourns death of a female Aldabra giant tortoise

February 6, 2022 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta’s zoo is mourning the death of a female Aldabra giant tortoise.

Zoo Atlanta’s veterinary and animal care teams decided to euthanize Patches on Saturday out of concern for her quality of life, according to a news release. She had exhibited changes in her condition and behavior, including lethargy, fluid buildup, lack of appetite and weakness, the release said. A CT scan showed a large mass in her body cavity and other health concerns.

“We are very saddened by the loss of Patches. She was a wonderful link for so many people to the fascination of reptiles and to the key role that tortoises play in their ecosystems wherever they are found,” Jennifer Mickelberg, the zoo’s vice president of collections and conservation, said in the release.

Patches arrived at the zoo in 1994. Her actual age was not known, but she was believed to have been in her 70s or 80s. The zoo has two other Aldabra tortoises, male Shuffles and female Corky, who are also believed to be in their 70s or 80s.

Aldabra tortoises can live to be over 100 years old. Males generally weigh around 300 pounds, while females average around 200 pounds. They are classified as a vulnerable species and are found only on the Indian Ocean’s Aldabra Atoll islands off the coast of eastern Africa.