A three-legged tortoise brought to a British Zoo after being rescued from smugglers has graduated from using wheels to get around to using his own legs and a prosthetic “stump,” zookeepers said.
The Cheshire Zoo said the critically endangered ploughshare tortoise, named Hope, was severely injured when he was found in a suitcase with 56 other live tortoises by customs officials in Hong Kong.
Hope’s front leg had to be amputated and rescuers affixed three wheels to the bottom of his shell to help him get around.
Hope was brought to the Cheshire Zoo, where officials said he is now strong enough to get around without wheels. The three rollers were removed and a prosthetic “stump” was glued to the bottom of his shell, near the missing leg, to keep him balanced while moving.
The zoo shared video showing Hope exploring his new enclosure.
The zoo said ploughshare tortoises are difficult to track and study in the wild due to their endangered status, so Hope’s presence at the zoo is a boon to researchers.