100-year-old tortoise says goodbye to the Phoenix Zoo
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It's the end of an era as the Phoenix Zoo is losing one of its oldest members, but it's also gaining one of the newest.
"We're all excited to meet Elvis, we're sad to see Ralph go," Drew with the Phoenix Zoo said. "He was a great animal."
Even though it may seem like a case of "out with the old, in with the new," sending 100-year-old Ralph to El Paso, Texas in exchange for 65-year-old Elvis is for a good cause.
"The switch is important... so it's a real conservation project," Drew said.
It's true, Ralph's not the most attractive animal; he's lumpy, dry, cranky at times and makes a mess with his prickly pear treats. He's also not easy to move.
"It's not everyday you move a 500-pound tortoise," Drew said. "To do that, we had our operations guys build a special crate."
Zoo staff says he's getting the royal treatment, while living out the rest of his days in El Paso with a new friend.
"A lot of people have come to know Ralph over the years," Drew said. "He's been here since the zoo opened in 1962, so we want to see him off well. He's actually going to be a companion animal for another animal named 'Mr. Potato Head.'"