Tortoise found in Kaneohe reunited with owner

**Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original posting.**

The story of a tortoise found roaming a Kaneohe neighborhood has come to a happy close, its ending not too far from where it all began.

Jonathan Hanks found the tortoise in his driveway on New Year’s Day. He said it had a healthy appetite and had “been eating my wife’s sweet potatoes growing in our yard, ferns, grass.”

He said he made several calls to try to find the tortoise a home — the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and even Honolulu Zoo, twice.

“Nobody will take him,” Hanks said. “The San Diego Zoo said they might take him.”

So Rep. John Mizuno (D-Vice Speaker) offered to help. “I felt so bad and I told Mr. Hanks, let’s do something about it… I don’t want them to destroy it or leave it in the road where someone can hit it or where something can happen.”

Since the story went public, Mizuno said his office was inundated with calls. “Some claimed to own the tortoise, others offered it a home,” he said. “We even received calls from the mainland willing to have it shipped there.”

In the end, Mizuno turned over responsibility of the tortoise to the state Department of Agriculture. “Our primary concern is reuniting the tortoise with its proper owner and the Department of Agriculture has the expertise to determine that through photos and markings,” his office said in a statement.

The state picked the animal up Wednesday and confirmed that its owner was a resident who lived near Hanks.

The two were reunited Wednesday afternoon.

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