Buffalo Zoo Searching for Red-Footed Tortoise Stolen This Week, Asks Community for Help
The zoo is currently working with the Buffalo Police Department to find the beloved tortoise
The Buffalo Zoo is looking for their red-footed tortoise who they reported was stolen from Rainforest Falls during an incident at the zoo Wednesday night.
"In our Buffalo Zoo community, we share both the highs and lows. Today we’re sad to report that Red, the red-footed tortoise was stolen from Rainforest Falls during an incident at the Zoo last night," the facility shared on Twitter. "We’re working closely with the BPD to ensure her safe return."
According to the Buffalo Police Department, an intruder entered the zoo on Wednesday night and assaulted a security guard.
Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo told WIBV News that the intruder then broke into Red's secure enclosure and stole her.
District detectives and officers were called to the scene, and an investigation into the theft is reportedly ongoing. The zoo urged the New York community to reach out with any tips or sightings of the beloved tortoise.
"If you have any information, please call the Buffalo Police Department Tip Line at (716) 847-2255. We also appreciate your encouragement and support for her keepers who miss and love her very much," they shared on Twitter.
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In addition to searching for Red, the zoo is under "unprecedented financial stress" caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the ongoing closures, state lawmaker Sean Ryan told The Buffalo News.
While closed, the zoo still has to pay zookeepers to care for animals and continues purchasing supplies and food with no incoming revenue.
The assemblyman is now urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow the zoo to reopen after seemingly giving the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, an Onondaga County-owned facility in Syracuse the green light on May 23.
"If the state thought it was dangerous they would have shut it down," Ryan said Thursday. "So why not give the Buffalo Zoo and other zoos around the state the same opportunity that the state is giving Syracuse? Why the special, privileged treatment to Syracuse? All zoos are hurting."
According to Jason Conwall, a Cuomo spokesman, the Syracuse zoo did not get explicit permission from the Cuomo administration to reopen. However, since their reopening, they have not been reprimanded for their actions.
“Given the fact that the state has not shut the Syracuse zoo down, or imposed fines for reopening early, I can only assume that the state approves of the action taken by Onondaga County," Ryan said.