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Cisco the three-legged desert tortoise finds forever home

PHOENIX — “Cisco” the three-legged desert tortoise is living the resort life.

But after being hit by a car near Wickenburg, causing irreparable damage to a hind leg that needed to be amputated, one could say he’s earned it. No longer able to survive in the wild, he found his way into the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Desert Tortoise Adoption program and recently into his forever home at Cibola Vista Resort and Spa in Peoria.

“It was great to partner with Cibola Vista Resort, where Cisco not only has a permanent home, he now serves as an educational ambassador for Arizona’s wildlife to visitors from around the world,” said Tegan Wolf, AZGFD Tortoise Adoption Program coordinator. “Whether injured or not, captive tortoises cannot be released back into the wild. For that reason, AZGFD works tirelessly to place tortoises such as Cisco up for adoption and into caring homes looking for a non-traditional pet.”

While Cisco is between 30 and 50 years old, about 80 other desert tortoises eligible for adoption vary in age and size. Arizona residents interested in providing an adoptive home to a desert tortoise can find an adoption application and packet with general information at www.azgfd.gov/tortoise.

Those applying to adopt a tortoise will be contacted by the department once their completed application is reviewed.

Adopters need to have a securely enclosed yard or separate enclosure in their yard free from potential hazards such as a dog, fire pit or unfenced pool. The enclosed area must include an appropriate shelter for the tortoise to escape Arizona’s extreme summer and winter temperatures, and must be constructed before submitting an adoption application.

All of the desert tortoises eligible for adoption are given health exams before going to their new homes.

Desert tortoises offer a unique alternative to more traditional family pets and can teach many of the same life lessons to children, including responsibility, compassion and commitment. Contrary to many assumptions, desert tortoises can be interactive and provide as much companionship and love as a cat or dog.

Those with questions can contact TAP@azgfd.gov,call (844) 896-5730 or visit www.azgfd.gov/tortoise.