In 2005, Rebecca Root of Flour Bluff was asked by a family from Houston to take in two large land tortoises because the family was moving to Alaska.
She has since taken in four more while rehabilitating and finding homes for the others, all on her own dime.
Root spends part of her daily routine filling in holes and repairing the fence in her yard so that the African Sulcatas can have a home.
"All of these guys have to come to me as homeless and unable to find the original owner of them," Root said. "That's where I come in, and just try to provide as much as a natural environment for them as they can."
The Sulcata is the third largest tortoise in the world. Because of the space required by the animals to roam around, facilities like the Texas Sealife Center can't hold them for too long.
"I've been working with her now for at least eight years, and she's been kind enough to take those animals on that other people don't want," said Dr. Tim Tristan, a veterinarian with the Texas Sealife Center.
Although the Center's main focus is sea turtles, shore birds and raptors, Dr. Tristan said they collaborate with the public to save other species.
The African Sulcata can weigh up 200 pounds and live up to 100 years. Root strongly advises potential owners to do the research so you are able to provide the proper environment. It is a lifelong commitment.
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