Imagine being a creature that derives your energy and health from the Sun. You roam across vast Desert expanses, soaking up the sun's warmth and grazing on wildflowers and grasses. Now image being that creature and being kept in a tiny wooden box in a dark closet for over 15 years. You either never saw the sun except in the fleeting days of your youth, or you have forgotten the joy of the sun's warmth because it had been so long.
This was the life for 1 California Desert Tortoise, 2 box turtles and 3 Russian tortoises kept at a Nature Center here in the SF Bay Area. For the past 15+ years they had been kept in a closet in tiny, soiled, wooden boxes. They did not receive proper beak or nail maintenance - their beaks were so overgrown that it impeded their ability to eat and their fingernails were so long that they had curled over each other and twisted their fingers into painful clumps. They had very inadequate diets and little to no heat. Most of their lives they spent in the dark and it shows in their current medical condition. One of these tortoises suffers from shell rot because she was unable to get out of her own feces for years.
This all changed on March 24th 2017, when we were asked to come forward to rescue these animals. Since then, they have been living in warmth, basking in real sunlight and foraging dandelion greens and strawberries straight from the soil they have been digging in. They have been taking long warm soaks to clean their soiled skin. They have even begun to feel curiosity again about the world around them.
After a long veterinary exam that included time-intensive shell repair to remove old feces that was causing rot, as well as beak and nail trims, they were declared free of immediate disease or parasites. However, their overall health, muscle-tone, and their strength has been severely compromised by long-term malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and lack of sunlight. It took years of this neglect to get them to this state and it will take years for them to recover from it. Some of them can be adopted out to the right people who are willing to take on this level of care. But others need to stay at our rescue center to continue to receive proper medical help for years.
We are reaching out to you because we badly need to upgrade our intensive care habitats and get some supplies to properly care for these guys for years to come and as an all-volunteer grassroots 501c3 nonprofit, we just don't have the money to do this. If you tell your friends, and they tell their friends, and everyone donates $5 we could make this a truly happy beginning for these deserving souls who have been through so much.
In the coming days I will be posting introductions about each of the Tortoises and Box Turtles who would benefit from your kindnesses. Please watch for these updates and thank you for your help.