Cyborgs shall inherit the Earth! Dun dun dunnnnn! No, but seriously now, this tortoise is adorable. Cláudio Yudi of the Veterinary Hospital of Uberaba says this little guy injured his leg on an electric fence in the Brazilian wild. By the time he was discovered, the hare had already won the race infection had deteriorated the leg to the point where an amputation was necessary to save his life.
After the life-saving operation, Yudi used plastic resin and a common furniture wheel to fashion a mechanical prosthetic for the tortoise. No longer able to traverse rough terrain, this little soldier now lives indoors. Still, this is the best turtle news since my Squirtle evolved into a Wartortle!
Red-footed tortoises are native to the forests of South America where they face a variety of threats from human interaction. They are a prime target for hunters looking to ship them throughout the continent to be made into pets or eaten as a food source. But perhaps more pressingly, the encroachment of development within their habitats means a higher likelihood the tortoises will be injured or killed by industrial equipment and infrastructure — in this case, an electrified fences.
Their close genetic cousins, South American yellow-footed tortoises, have already been driven to near extinction from similar threats in their habitat, earning them the designation as an endangered species. It may be only a matter of time until red-footed tortoises are granted similar protections.
Granted, persistence and stubborn determination have long been counted among the tortoise’s chief strengths, but sometimes they too need a helping hand along the way to ensure their preservation — regardless of the form that hand may take.
So unless you want to be seeing tortoises popping wheelies around your home, which admittedly we do, please do your part to conserve resources and protect animal habitats in your own neck of the woods.