SANTA FE (KRQE) - A Santa Fe woman says she filed a police report after the tortoise she was caring for was stolen.
The tortoise belongs to a Santa Fe teen who tells me it was a gift from his grandfather, and he is especially worried because it takes a lot of research to properly care for this exotic pet.
"He is ours," says Jonny Mackey. "He's our family, part of the group."
Mackey says he was hurt when he heard his African spurred tortoise was taken Saturday night while family friends cared for him.
Mister Tortoise, as they call him, was a gift from Mackey's grandfather.
He sent him from Alaska about a year ago.
It is the third largest species of tortoise in the world.
He can grow to weigh as much as 200 pounds and live for more than 100 years—so at only five years old, he still had many years ahead with Mackey.
"People talk about their lifelong pet being a dog or a bird. This is a lifelong pet. He'll be there through your whole life. That's pretty cool, I think," Mackey says.
"We have his cage here. It's empty," says Joe Lovato. "It's just really sad to not have him here where he belongs. He belongs here.">
Lovato and Kimberly Hargrove were helping Mackey watch Mister Tortoise because caring for him is no easy task.
"We have to make sure he stays a certain temperature. We can't let him get cold. His best friend is this heater," Hargrove says.
He also has a special diet, which includes lots of fiber and calcium supplements.
While this type of tortoise could be worth at least several hundred dollars, this tortoise's caretakers say you can't put a price on Mister Tortoise.
"We need to take care of him, and we hope anyone that sees this would do the right thing and return him to his home," Hargrove says.
She tells me she believes she knows who took the tortoise but nothing has been confirmed yet by police.
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