One woman’s outstanding commitment to tortoises has flagged up the difficulties that looking after reptiles can present.
Julie Hinks from Fareham, Hampshire, runs TotArk, a non-profit organisation that re-houses tortoises. Over the last 15 years she’s rehomed over 300 of the creatures, and is being recognised for her hard work with an award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Tortoises can live up to 120 years, and as Ms. Hinks admits can be hard to look after. Her first tortoises were family pets when she was a child, back when they were available to buy from most pet shops. Since then a change in licensing laws has restricted the sale of the animals.
“We didn’t know how to look after them and a lot of them died. Thank goodness things have changed,” Ms Hinks reflected.
Tortoise care can be highly dependent on the species of tortoise you’ve bought, with more exotic types requiring specialist care in some instances.