The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Iowa museum says African leopard tortoise was never stolen; employee lied to keep up the story

  • Print

DUBUQUE, Iowa - An African leopard tortoise thought to be stolen from an Iowa museum was actually trapped behind paneling in her enclosure, and a misguided employee who found her lied to keep up the story about her theft, the museum announced Friday.

In a bizarre move, the employee who found the 18-pound reptile named Cashew put her into a building elevator in an attempt to prevent the museum further embarrassment, said Jerry Enzler, president and CEO of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque.

The tortoise was found alone in a museum elevator on Thursday, two days after the museum had discovered she was missing and announced that she had been stolen. Museum officials told media outlets Thursday that they believed a regretful thief had smuggled her back inside.

But several hours later, a museum employee came forward and told the truth: Cashew was never stolen.

"The action taken by the employee Thursday afternoon was wrong and is not reflective of the integrity of the staff who dedicate themselves to the highest of Museum & Aquarium standards," Enzler said in a statement Friday.

Enzler said the employee, whose name and position has not been released, will be reprimanded. He said it was a personal issue and did not provide any additional information.

Cashew is one of six large tortoises on display in the enclosure. A 4-foot glass wall separates visitors from the creatures.

Enzler said the notion of a stolen tortoise grabbed national attention.

"The idea that someone may steal a tortoise was so disturbing, and I think people responded to that," he said.

He's just glad the tortoise is in good health, and he said staff is reviewing the enclosures.

"It has good karma to know Cashew wasn't stolen and someone didn't violate the museum and its exhibit," he said. "I think it restores our faith in humanity to know someone didn't take the animal."

The 9-year-old tortoise will be back on display Saturday.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Kids' birthday parties

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the decision by the Criminal Conviction Review Board to extend freedoms to Vince Li?

View Results

Ads by Google