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Tortoises Rescued From NJ Home Recovering At Zoo

Aldabra tortoise (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Aldabra tortoise (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Four huge tortoises seized from a New Jersey home earlier this month are being treated at a rescue zoo for upper respiratory infections but otherwise are mostly in good health.

Animal protection advocates tell the Asbury Park Press that they’re still seeking a permanent home in a warm climate for the reptiles, which for now will remain at Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township.

The four — including one that weighs 600 pounds — are Aldabra tortoises, which are second in size only to the Galapagos tortoise.

Besides the infection, two of them also have cracked shells. But officials say the reptiles are eating well and are being treated with antibiotics.

Officials say the tortoises were being kept in inadequate outdoor enclosures at a Highlands home when they were seized.

Authorities say Richard Hines Jr. is charged with possession of exotic species without a permit after they found the tortoises, ranging in weight between 25 and 600 pounds, in his backyard.

Neighbors called authorities after they heard the tortoises “crying,” according to State Environmental Protection Department spokesman Larry Ragonese.

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