Environmental Club members rescue a leopard tortoise

30 September 2022


Born Free Ethiopia’s Lemessa Goshu, recounts the rescue of an injured tortoise found by caring school children, and brought to our Ensessa Kotteh sanctuary.

Photos of the rescued tortoise and the students who found her

On 20 September 2022, Born Free Ethiopia received a call from the Director of Kolobo Primary School, Mr. Zelalem. A student from Born Free’s Environment Club had brought him a female leopard tortoise in need of rescue.

Lemessa Goshu

It was not known where she came from, but it is believed that she was brought to the school by somebody and put into the school compound by one of the security guards. She was roaming in the compound for about a week before the opening of the school after the summer holiday.

When the students returned, a few students saw her and started moving her from one place to another and sitting her on her back. Two students from Born Free’s Environmental Club members saw what was happening and took her away from the other children. They took her to the school director and asked him to call Born Free to rescue this animal.

Yeabsera Endale, one of the club members told us they even tried to get a taxi to bring the tortoise to us directly, after Mr. Zelalem was unable to reach the team by phone, sadly this wasn’t possible. However, they persevered and kept calling until phone service allowed them to get through in the evening.

Meskerem, as she has been named, is now safely at Ensessa Kotteh and undergoing quarantine for further checkups, treatment, and care. She will then join the other tortoises being cared for at the center. Including African spurred, hinge-back and leopard tortoises.

Sadly, her shell is broken (likely damaged on purpose) so, unfortunately, she will not be able to live life in the wild, but we can offer her lifetime care at the centre, with care, good food, space and above all peace.

Laura Gosset, Head of Education at Born Free, said: “This is a great example of the power of education and a testament to how much the club members have taken the care of their wild neighbours to heart. Lemessa and Million, our education team in Ethiopia, have been working with the school for many years and despite many challenges the students continue to show their dedication and compassion towards every individual. I cannot thank them enough for their prompt action to help Meskerem”.