“We saw no evidence of food or water,” Hudson said. “Typically they [wildlife traffickers] don’t seem to think that tortoises have any biological needs. They just keep them until they’re ready to ship them.”
Rescuers transported the tortoises to a nearby tortoise sanctuary, although the sanctuary is struggling to care for so many new arrivals in addition to its current residents. TSA sent a group of vets to assist, but caring for such a large group of tortoises will still be a challenge.
“Dehydration is our worst enemy in these situations,” Hudson said. “We have to go in with plastic tubs and things to put the tortoises in. We’re hoping that they just need a good soak and rehydration will perk them up.”