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FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — An African tortoise is awaiting a trip to the Desert Southwest after a construction worker found it in the woods near Gaithersburg.

The Frederick News-Post reported Tuesday on the rescue of the basketball-sized sulcata tortoise found last
week by Frederick resident Steve Warfield.

Authorities confiscated and then returned the animal after determining that Warfield could legally possess it. He then sold it for $350 to wildlife enthusiast Michael Hillman of Emmitsburg.

Hillman says he entrusted the tortoise to a farmer friend who built an enclosure for it on his property in Fairfield, Pa.

Hillman says the tortoise will stay on the farm for a couple months. He says the animal will get treatment for some medical problems while he searches for a suitable reserve somewhere in the Southwest.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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