Binder Park Zoo’s Oldest Critter On the Mend
Binder Park Zoo's most tenured tenant is recovering from a bone infection.
"Al", the Aldabra giant tortoise is 80 years old, weighs 600 pounds and has been living at Battle Creek's zoo for 34 of those years. Zookeepers say Al usually follows them around and loves to get attention. But recently, they could tell he wasn't feeling well. He was quiet, not eating much, and very lethargic. Zoo veterinarian Dr. Kim Thompson noticed his front left leg was swollen, and they needed to have a CT scan done. The only problem is the nearest CT gadget for a 600 pound turtle is in Chicago. So, eight staff members hoisted the titanic turtle into a transport crate and Al made the trip to the Windy City.
The CT scan showed a bone infection. It would have been better if the infection was in his soft tissue. The bone will be harder to treat. Al is back home now, taking med, and Dr. Thompson says he could be as good as new......no time soon. "Reptiles do everything slowly, including heal," said Dr. Thompson. A zoo spokesman tells WBCK that it looks like the infection is localized to the one foot, and hasn't spread. Al is recuperating in his indoor enclosure at the zoo's Wild Africa exhibit. They have to sedate him twice a week to change the bandages on his foot. Even though Al was born in the 1930's, he's still only about 29 in people years.