Frank the Tank, Rescued Tortoise, Finds New Home in British Columbia

Frank the Tank, a sulcata tortoise that was found in a farmer’s field, is pictured getting acquainted with his new owner Monday at the B.C. SPCA in Maple Ridge, B.C. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Frank the Tank, a 17-kilogram tortoise found wandering in a Richmond bok choy field last month, has finally found a new home in British Columbia after a widespread search for a suitable adopter. The story of Frank, a juvenile male sulcata tortoise, has garnered international attention, with adoption requests coming from as far away as New Zealand.

Rescue and Recovery

Frank was discovered in poor health in early October, suffering from shell rot and respiratory problems due to exposure to the cold. He was rescued and rehabilitated by the Maple Ridge Community Animal Centre, where manager Kahlee Demers and veterinarian Adrian Walton of Dewdney Animal Hospital worked tirelessly to nurse him back to health. Walton noted that sulcata tortoises, native to Africa and endangered in their natural habitat, can live for over 100 years and grow to weigh up to 90 kilograms.

Sulcata tortoises like Frank the Tank are known escape artists, with extraordinary digging capabilities. (Ben Nelms)

The Adoption Process

Demers revealed that the shelter received an “enormous amount” of emails from potential adopters. The selection process was meticulous, with the main criterion being the ability to provide long-term care and a suitable environment for a tortoise of Frank’s potential size and lifespan. Frank’s new family, who wished to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, has prepared both indoor and outdoor spaces for him, fortified and protected for his well-being.

Frank’s Journey to His New Home

On Monday, Frank was transported by ferry to his new, undisclosed rural location in British Columbia. This new environment is ideal for Frank, offering ample space for his natural digging behavior. According to Demers, Frank’s tale could have had a much bleaker outcome had he not been found, highlighting the challenges of keeping exotic pets like giant tortoises in regions like B.C.

The Plight of Exotic Pets

Mark Vosper, B.C. SPCA animal protection services regional manager, emphasized the issue of breeding exotic animals like Frank in unsuitable environments. He expressed relief at Frank’s fortunate rescue, considering the dire alternatives had he not been found.