TORTOISE SAGA: Animal Not Taken From Museum

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Cashew returned to museum. Courtesy: KWWL

An eastern Iowa tortoise originally thought to be stolen – then returned – was only hiding.

Officials at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque say Cashew, a leopard tortoise, was not taken from the museum. They say the tortoise, which was reported missing Tuesday, somehow got behind a wall in the enclosure museum staff thought was impenetrable and became trapped.

An employee discovered Cashew Thursday morning but not wanting to cause the museum embarrassment over the tortoise not being stolen, put Cashew in the elevator where she would be quickly discovered instead of telling someone what had really happened.

Thursday evening the employee confessed what had happened to the Museum & Aquarium President Jerry Enzler.

Enzler says the name of the employee is not being released and apologized to the community and the media over the incident.

The museum is reviewing its enclosures and procedures to make sure the highest level of care is provided to the animals.