Rare tortoises bake to death at zoo
Published Date: 29 August 2003
By YAKUB QURESHI
SEVEN rare tortoises at Glasgow Zoo baked to death on the hottest day of the year, bosses at the attraction confirmed yesterday.
The 60-year-old Brown Burmese tortoises died of heat exhaustion after a faulty thermostat turned on the heating in their enclosure at the zoo.
The attraction closed to the public on Sunday after it failed to meet new standards on animal welfare due to funding problems.
With temperatures soaring to nearly 30C (86F) in the city on 10 August - 100F was reached in Britain for the first time that day - the ten tortoises inside the covered enclosure all suffered heat exhaustion and only three survived the ordeal.
A zoo spokeswoman said: "It was a combination of the UK’s hottest day and a thermostat malfunctioning where the tortoises were kept. Three were able to recover but unfortunately the others had died.
"Burmese Brown tortoises have been at the zoo for a long time. They are kept in an enclosure which should be a thermostat-controlled environment, but the fault with the boiler meant that it was not regulated."
The tortoises, which originate from south-east Asia, were bred in captivity at the zoo.
Keepers remain working at the park until new homes are found for the animals.
The zoo, which opened in 1947, featured earlier this month on BBC television programme UK’s Worst Day Out - a hit-list of dilapidated attractions.
It has been a long-standing target of animal rights protesters.
Managers admitted they had been struggling with debts after the facility stopped receiving public funding in 2000.
Despite a long-running battle with Glasgow City Council for approval to sell off some of the zoo to offset debts, no evidence of mistreatment at the facility was found during licensing hearings.
- Last Updated: 28 August 2003 11:48 PM
- Source: The Scotsman
- Location: Edinburgh
- Related Topics: Glasgow Zoo