When mournful moans could be heard emanating from a Highlands, NJ yard, police discovered four huge Aldabra tortoises living on an undersized back patio of a duplex. Police contacted the N J Division of Fish and Wildlife who sent an animal conservation officer to the property which set the wheels in motion to assist the tortoises. After discussions with the owner, DFW called John Bergmann at AHS/Popcorn Park to remove the tortoises from the property.
One of the tortoises, here at Popcorn Park, has damage to its shell.
The tortoises were kept outside in an undersized area, had no veterinary care, and there were no proper permits, so the state and county issued summonses for cruelty and no permits.
Bergmann visited the Hines residence with our horse trailer and brought all four tortoises back to Popcorn Park in Forked River.
On Oct. 18th, Richard Hines of Highlands was charged with $750 in fines, $90 in court costs and $1,200 in restoration fees for keeping the exotic pets.
Popcorn Park General Manager, John Bergmann, feeding romaine lettuce to one of the tortoises.
Popcorn Park Exotic Animal Veterinarian, Dr. Bert Paluch and Dr. Jonathan Bergmann have been caring for the tortoises. They had upper respiratory infections and some had cracks in their shells, and the veterinarians for Popcorn Park are overseeing their continued treatment. They are presently being fed collard greens, romaine lettuce, cantaloupe and cactus and a special pellet food.
One of the four tortoises meets a curious resident at Popcorn Park.
The reptiles are Aldabra tortoises, which are second in size only to the Galapagos tortoise.
The rescue effort by the Society/Popcorn Park entails staff, food, veterinarians, medical supplies and more -- all done at the Society's expense. Your donation to our Res-Q Fund will help us to continue our humanitarian efforts in these type of cases. Please donate today!
Three of the tortoises will take up residence at the Cape May County Zoo. The largest tortoise of them all at 320 pounds has a special friendship with Bergmann. He has been named Maximus. John has plans in the work to build a special compound which will include an indoor heated area for the winter time. At this time, it is estimated that the cost will be between $6,000 - $8,000 for this effort. Until it the compound is completed, Maximus will join the other tortoises at the Cape May County Zoo. If you would like to make a donation to help in our animal rescues, we would be grateful for your kindness, or you can sponsor Maximus here!