-- Denver man hopes reward will lead to Butti’s safe return --

March 30, 2011, Colorado Springs, CO – A Denver man graciously reached out to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to offer a $700 reward for the safe return of Butti, the zoo’s missing Indian star tortoise. The donor said he’s never visited Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, but saw recent news coverage of Butti’s disappearance and wanted to help.

“I just love animals. I had turtles as pets growing up and I think it’s great kids are able to touch the animals and experience them up close,” he said.

The donor started with $500 of his own money and friends chipped in an additional $200, bringing the total reward to $700. He previously worked at a zoo out of state and supports several animal welfare organizations. He has also experienced the loss of an animal first-hand. His rescued Norwegian Elkhound was stolen, but returned after a reward was offered.

“I hope the reward will motivate the person who took Butti to come forward,” he said.

“We are humbled by the outpouring of support surrounding Butti’s disappearance. For someone to see the story and come forward with an offer like this is really touching,” said Katie Borremans, Public Relations Manager at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Zoo officials believe Butti was stolen Sunday afternoon, March 27, from The Loft, a place where guests can interact and connect with animals in a more open environment. Butti’s brother, Tutti, was not taken. Staff is concerned for Butti’s welfare, as he has special care and dietary needs. If he isn’t kept at the proper temperature and doesn’t receive the right type of food, he could suffer from significant health problems. Charges will not be filed if Butti is returned safely. Please call 719.633.9925 x140 with any information on this incident.

Butti is around the size of a grapefruit. He’s about six inches long and weighs a little over a pound. He has a unique shell with a bumpy star pattern.

Click here to see pictures of Butti.