WA Police have recovered a second tortoise after it and another reptile were taken from their enclosure at Perth Zoo seven years ago.
The rare endangered radiated tortoises were reported missing from the zoo in 2011.
One of the animals was found in a chance discovery at a home in Perth’s northern suburbs earlier this month by a hawk-eyed police officer attending to a reported burglary.
Police suspected the second tortoise had also been at the property but may have been stolen a second time during the burglary.
An appeal for information was launched to try to find the reptile amid suspicions it had been taken from the home on the same day police attended.
Last night, Warwick Police found the tortoise and arrested a 35-year-old Greenwood woman.
She has been charged with stealing and trespass after allegedly taking the second tortoise from the Girrawheen property.
A 29-year-old Girrawheen man has been charged with initially having possession of the two reptiles after they were removed from the zoo.
A WA Police spokeswoman said officers were always keeping an eye out for things which did not seem quite right.
She said the first tortoise which was recovered in Girrawheen certainly looked out of place strutting around the property’s backyard.
The animal was taken to a vet and a scan uncovered a microchip which revealed it was one of the zoo’s missing tortoises.
Tortoises found after baby meerkat stolen
The animals have been returned to the zoo and will be monitored in quarantine before they can return to their enclosure, which now features beefed-up security measures.
The discovery comes just days after another heist at the zoo involving the theft of a four-week-old baby meerkat.
The meerkit made its public debut at Perth Zoo on Tuesday morning last week, attracting a number of visitors.
Before the day’s end, however, it had vanished, with zoo staff concerned it had been stolen or taken by a predatory bird.
In true meerkat fashion, the baby meerkat popped its head up again on Friday when it was found by police in the Wheatbelt town of Beverley, about 130 kilometres south-east of Perth.
A 22-year-old man is set to be charged with stealing the animal and a 23-year-old woman with receiving the stolen goods.
The investigation is ongoing as authorities try to determine exactly how the infant was taken.
Zoo staff said the meerkit was stressed and hungry when found, but was recovering well.
It is now being housed with its family again, although zoo keepers are concerned about its diet.
Having been removed from its mother, the meerkat was weened much sooner than it otherwise would have.
To compensate, keepers are working to have it eating an adult diet as soon as possible.