Ed, an Aldabra tortoise who’s lived at the Little Rock Zoo for more than 28 years, had to be euthanized because of an intestinal impaction, the Zoo announced today.
Ed was “wild caught” in 1990 at the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, off the African coast. He was a huge tortoise, at one time weighing in at 580; his species of tortoises are second only in size to the Galapagos tortoises. Zookeepers noticed he was lethargic and not interested in food several weeks ago; he had been under the care of a veterinarian.
Ed lived with his female companion, Ernestine. Connor Livingston, one of Ed’s keepers, said in the zoo’s press release that the tortoise “loved target training [getting an animal to move to a target]. It was one of his favorite things to do. He would do anything for a treat.” His favorite food was watermelon.
The Aldabra tortoises are a vulnerable species, which means they are likely to become endangered if not protected. There are three other Aldabra tortoises remaining at the zoo, along with four African spurred tortoises.
Only five days ago, the zoo lost Trudy, the oldest living Western Lowland gorilla in captivity. Trudy was 63 years old and had lived at the zoo for more than 31 years.