ATLANTA, Ga. (WRBL) – A giant tortoise at Zoo Atlanta has died. The zoo announced the tortoise’s passing over the weekend. According to a news release from the zoo, Patches, a female Aldabra giant tortoise, died on Feb. 5, 2022.
“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,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation.
Aldabra tortoises, which are currently classified as Vulnerable, are now found only on the islands of Aldabra Atoll, located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of eastern Africa. As one of the largest reptiles at Zoo Atlanta, Patches was a highly visible ambassador.
“It is not difficult to make connections with an animal such as a gorilla or a giant panda or a giraffe. Some people find it more challenging to connect with reptiles, which makes Patches’ legacy all the more extraordinary,” said Mickelberg. “She had a personality on par with her size, and she will be dearly missed.”
For the past several days Patches was being treated by the zoo’s Animal Care and Veterinary Team. The tortoise had shown changes in her physical condition and behavior, including lethargy, fluid build-up, lack of appetite, and weakness.
Officials said the difficult decision to euthanize Patches was made by the team over concern for her concern for her quality of life due to her condition.
While her actual age is not known, Patches was estimated to have been in her 70s to 80s.