CHICAGO (CBS) — A Shorewood family is thanking a Will County Forest Preserve officer for bringing home their tortoise after it was lost and found almost five miles away.
Laura Egan, the animal’s owner, said she had just moved to Shorewood and Gamera, the African suculate tortoise, was left in an unfenced backyard. The person watching Gamera lost track of the tortoise and the search began.
Kelly Robertson, a Forest Preserve community service officer, posted information about the tortoise on her Facebook page.
According to the Forest Preserve of Will County, Egan posted about her lost pet on a Shorewood moms Facebook group. At the same time, a friend of Robertson’s saw both posts and connected the women.
Robertson contacted the Egan family, and they had pictures to prove that the tortoise found in Hammel Woods was their missing pet.
“Robertson was working on her day off to get the tortoise back to its owner,” said Forest Preserve police Sgt. Dan Olszewski.
The Egan’s home is about four miles away from Hammel Woods. According to forest preserve officials, it looks like someone found the tortoise in the family’s neighborhood shortly after it disappeared and released him into Hammel Woods, which is illegal.
“There is just no way that he made it four or five miles in three hours,” Egan said of Gamera the tortoise, who weighs around between 30 and 40 pounds.
Becky Blankenship, the Forest Preserve’s wildlife biologist, said releasing found or unwanted pets into the wild has many negative impacts to the animal itself and to the ecosystem.
Many are not native to the area and cannot survive in a new environment, she said. Or the released animal may thrive in the wild as an invasive species that can damage native flora and fauna.
Egan thanked everyone who searched for the tortoise and especially thanked Robertson for “taking charge” of the situation to reunite Gamera and his family.
Robertson said she knew the tortoise was not native to the area, which is why she wanted to solve the case.
“I’m just glad he got back to his rightful owners,” she said.