Tucker the Turtle is heading back to Kentucky, the Humane Society has just announced.
A local man named Greg Staffa read about Tucker, felt a connection to the turtle’s plight and wanted to help. For several months in 2001, Greg was homeless. “I know what its like to want to go back home, and I can help Tucker get there,” said Greg.
Greg is no stranger to road trips; in 2008 he did a 9,000 mile road trip to raise awareness to homelessness. He’s already planning for his next big trip – a 15,000 mile road trip to help raise awareness to the services offered by organizations like the United Way. He also has experience handling animals–in a previous job he facilitated transport of animals for Northwest Airlines.
Greg plans to leave Golden Valley, MN with Tucker on Saturday and arrive in Kentucky on Sunday. He says he’s looking forward to the trip, and plans to use Twitter the whole way down so people can track Tucker’s trek.
“We received dozens of calls from people willing to help. We are so thankful for the generosity of the community who so clearly care about animals,” said Laurie Brickley, Animal Humane Society vice president of marketing and communications.
Tucker, an Eastern Box Turtle, was picked up in Kentucky by a truck driver who thought he was injured. His shell appeared to be cracked and he thought he needed medical attention, so he drove the turtle to Minnesota with him. A friend then brought the turtle to Animal Humane Society.
Animal Humane Society wildlife staff took Tucker in and noticed his shell was fractured, however it was a very old fracture that had long since healed. A wildlife veterinarian examined Tucker and confirmed there is nothing medically wrong with him.
The Eastern Box Turtle is not a native species to Minnesota. Tucker is a warm-habitat turtle and would not survive a Minnesota winter. It’s very important to place turtles as close as possible to where they were taken from to ensure the best chance of survival.
Animal Humane Society put out the call for a volunteer willing to drive Tucker to the Broadbent Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvington, Kentucky. This wildlife rehabilitation center will check him over and release him where he belongs.
Here’s the story of his homelessness: