Confusing Dubuque Tortoise Caper Ends Well - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Confusing Dubuque Tortoise Caper Ends Well

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It's the greatest tortoise caper of all time, and luckily, it has a happy ending.

It all started when the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium could not locate an 18-pound African leopard tortoise named Cashew.

The tortoise was last seen in her enclosure on Sunday, March 31st. After a thorough search of the Aquarium, she was reported missing Tuesday morning and presumed stolen Tuesday morning.

However, an educator and two visitors on Thursday, April 4th, stumbled upon Cashew alone in the museum elevator.

How did Cashew end up in the elevator? That's where things turned more confusing.

It turns out an employee found Cashew Thursday afternoon, when the animal seemed to be trapped behind an impenetrable wall. The employee panicked at how to reveal that Cashew was not stolen but trapped.

Trying to protect the Museum & Aquarium from looking foolish, the employee placed Cashew on the elevator so she would be immediately found. Late Thursday evening, the employee, upset at making this wrong decision, informed Museum & Aquarium President Jerry Enzler of the actual events. 

'The action taken by the employee Thursday afternoon was wrong," said Enzler, "and is not reflective of the integrity of the staff who dedicate themselves to the highest of Museum & Aquarium standards. We apologize to the media and to the community." Enzler continued, "Because this is a personnel issue, the name of the employee is not being released." 

"The Museum & Aquarium is now reviewing all its enclosures and its procedures to continue to provide the highest possible level of animal care," said John Sutter, Director of Marketing & Sales 

"We have learned three important things from Cashew this week," said Enzler. "First, Cashew is much smarter than we thought. Second, Cashew was not stolen, which restores our faith in humankind and restores a feeling of good will within the Museum & Aquarium and in the community. Third, the community's tremendous interest in Cashew's plight is indicative of the enormous compassion that this community has. " 

Cashew has been seen by a veterinarian and is in good health. The Museum & Aquarium has new found admiration for the craftiness of one certain tortoise named Cashew. 

She will be placed back on exhibit soon.