The Buffalo Police Department and the Buffalo Zoo are on the hunt for someone who broke into the zoo and stole a tortoise.
A red-footed tortoise in the zoo's rainforest habitat, aptly named Red, was taken Tuesday night, a spokesperson confirmed. In an email to USA TODAY, the spokesperson said an individual "breached the zoo fence" before breaking into the rainforest exhibit and stealing Red.
The Buffalo Zoo on Wednesday tweeted a call for Red's safe return and said local police in New York were investigating. Red is one of three red-footed tortoises at the zoo.
"Red-footed tortoises are fairly common pets," zoo communications manager Christian Dobosiewicz said in an email. "As with most reptiles, keeping turtles requires specialized conditions, such as large tanks, lights and temperature controlled areas."
In our Buffalo Zoo community, we share both the highs and lows. Today we’re sad to report that Red, the red-footed tortoise was stolen from Rainforest Falls during an incident at the Zoo last night. We’re working closely with the BPD to ensure her safe return. pic.twitter.com/YTqQSnlL9C— buffalozoo (@buffalozoo) June 3, 2020
The zoo's rainforest area is kept at 78 degrees year-round. Red-footed tortoises are native to South America, Dobosiewicz said.
According to the Smithsonian, "Red-footed tortoises have a concave, bumpy shell. Their skin is mostly black with shells being typically black, gray or brown. Young tortoises have small distinct areas of yellow or tan coloring surrounding or covering each bump. Bright red marks may appear on the head. The legs and tail often have patches of orange, yellow or red."
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Dobosiewicz said the price for a red-footed tortoise "can range anywhere from $150 to $300." He added they can live more than 40 years.
Buffalo police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo told WIVB-TV that the intruder assaulted a security guard before leaving with Red. The Buffalo Police Department did not respond to USA TODAY's requests for comment.
The Buffalo Zoo is closed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Buffalo is in Phase 2 of the state's plan to reopen; however, zoos are among the businesses that must remain closed by order of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Anyone with information regarding the tortoise's theft is encouraged to call the Buffalo Police Department's tip line.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Buffalo Zoo seeks help in finding stolen red-footed tortoise