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Zoo Loses Ed the Aldabra Tortoise

LITTLE ROCK (July 29, 2019) – It is with heavy hearts the Zoo announces the passing of Ed, the beloved Aldabra tortoise.  Ed was one of four Aldabra tortoises at the Little Rock Zoo, and known for his larger size.  In fact, at its height, Ed’s weight was 580 pounds!   A member of the Zoo family for over twenty-eight years, Ed came to his home in Little Rock from the Louisville Zoo in 1991.

Originally from an island of the Aldabra Atoll located in the Seychelles off the African coast, Ed travelled far to become a member of the Zoo family.  He was originally “wild caught” in 1990 before he moved to the Louisville Zoo and then finally to Little Rock. His age is unknown.

Ed was under veterinary care for several weeks due to his inappetence and lethargic behavior.  He was humanely euthanized Friday due to an unresolvable intestinal impaction.  A full necropsy was performed.

One of his former keepers, Connor Livingston, stated “Ed loved doing target training.  It was one of his favorite things to do.  He would do anything for a treat.”   Training is an animal husbandry practice that gives physical exercise and provides mental stimulation for the animals.    

Connor also shared that watermelon was Ed’s favorite food.   Connor added that Ed lived with his female companion, Earnestine.

The Aldabra tortoise is the second largest land tortoise species on earth, with the male’s upper shell measuring up to four (4) feet. A male Aldabra tortoise can weigh up to 550 pounds or more.  

Currently, Aldabra tortoises are considered a vulnerable species, which according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) means that they are likely to become endangered as long as the issues that are threatening their survival and reproduction remain unchecked.  As an AZA accredited zoo participating in the S.A.F.E - Saving Animals From Extinction program, the Little Rock Zoo has a critical role in the protection and conservation of endangered animals.  The Little Rock Zoo protects several of the 21 species in the S.A.F.E program: Gorillas, African Lions, Cheetahs, African Penguins, Black Rhinos, Jaguars and Orangutans.

Though we have lost Ed, three other Aldabra tortoises remain and we have four African spurred tortoises that make up the rest of our tortoise reptile group.

To learn more about Ed, please contact



About the Zoo

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.  With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.  For more information, visit