A giant tortoise was spotted ambling down a street in suburban Los Angeles.
Police in Alhambra say they found the 150-pound reptile on August 2. It took two officers to heft the creature into a patrol car so they could take it to the local police station.
Police then turned over the reptile to animal control authorities.
Giant tortoises are not indigenous to the Los Angeles area.
Authorities are asking anyone whose big tortoise went missing this weekend to contact them.
Alhambra police ask for public’s help in identifying the owner of 150-pound tortoise (photo Alhambra Police Department)
They say the reptile has some distinctive markings. They aren’t revealing them for now, however, to ensure that whoever claims the tortoise is its rightful owner.
Alhambra police released multiple photos of the 150-pound tortoise on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
Authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying the animal’s owner.
“The tortoise did try to make a run for it, but our officers are pretty fast,” the department said in a statement.
“Almost had a pursuit!”
Due to the tortoise’s weight, “it took two officers to take this guy into custody,” the statement continued, adding that handcuffs were “not practical in this situation”.
It was unclear exactly when and where the animal was found.
Alhambra police released multiple photos of the tortoise, and speculated that it might be a female because “it did not respond to Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael or Donatello” – a light-hearted reference to the fictional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Authorities said the animal has distinctive markings and would be turned over to the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control location in Downey.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Alhambra Police Department’s dispatch center at 626-570-5151.
Staff at the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador has announced that Lonesome George, a giant tortoise believed to be the last of its subspecies, has died.
Scientists estimate he was about 100 years old.
Park officials said they would carry out a post-mortem to determine the cause of his death.
With no offspring and no known individuals from his subspecies left, Lonesome George became known as the rarest creature in the world.
For decades, environmentalists unsuccessfully tried to get the Pinta Island tortoise to reproduce with females from a similar subspecies on the Galapagos Islands.
Park officials said the tortoise was found dead in his corral by his keeper of 40 years, Fausto Llerena.
Staff at the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador has announced that Lonesome George, a giant tortoise believed to be the last of its subspecies, has died
While his exact age was not known, Lonesome George was estimated to be about 100, which made him a young adult as the subspecies can live up to an age of 200.
Lonesome George was first seen by a Hungarian scientist on the Galapagos island of Pinta in 1972.
Environmentalists had believed his subspecies (Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni) had become extinct.
Lonesome George became part of the Galapagos National Park breeding programme.
After 15 years of living with a female tortoise from the nearby Wolf volcano, Lonesome George did mate, but the eggs were infertile.
He also shared his corral with female tortoises from Espanola island, which are genetically closer to him than those from Wolf volcano, but Lonesome George failed to mate with them.
He became a symbol of the Galapagos Islands, which attract some 180,000 visitors a year.
Galapagos National Park officials said that with George’s death, the Pinta tortoise subspecies has become extinct.
They said his body would probably be embalmed to conserve him for future generations.
Tortoises were plentiful on the Galapagos islands until the late 19th century, but were later hunted for their meat by sailors and fishermen to the point of extinction.
Their habitat furthermore suffered when goats were introduced from the mainland.
The differences in appearance between tortoises from different Galapagos islands were among the features which helped the British naturalist Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution.
Some 20,000 giant tortoises of other subspecies still live on the Galapagos.