Non-profit tortoise rescue thrives in Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Non-profit tortoise rescue thrives in Tri-Cities

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KENNEWICK, WA - Northwest Tortoise is based in Tri-Cities and is one of the largest tortoise rescues around. A local woman started it years ago.

"Tortoises are very active creatures. They are nomadic. They need to be able to roam," said founder and operator of Northwest Tortoise, Terese Meyer. However, she didn't always know so much about the quiet creatures. She got her first tortoise more than 25 years ago.

"I did everything wrong and I saw one of my beloved tortoises that I had had for years die right on schedule because of poor care," said Meyer. "Because there's so much misinformation out there."

Her mission now?

"My top three of what I'm dedicated to, so to speak, is education, rescue and captive breeding," explained Meyer. "Education is obvious. If you don't know what you're caring for how in blazes can you care for it?"

Northwest Tortoise is a registered non-profit. Meyer cares for an untold number of seven different species.

"The most common 'whoopsie' is putting a tortoise in a fish tank. Hands down. there's not enough room. You cannot get the correct temperature differential for proper digestion. That's number one. Number two is the lights," said Meyer. The third is diet.

Meyer spends roughly 30 hours a week doing work for Northwest Tortoise on top of her day-job. She does feeding, cleanings, gives them medicine and organizes tortoise transports. Meyer rehabs the tortoises from abuse or improper care and she re-homes them when they're better.

"I can tell you every single one I have. Where they came from. What they're being treated for. When they'll be up for adoption. But I don't like to reduce them to numbers. Plus it makes me sound like a nut job," laughed Meyer. "I want people to enjoy their own tortoises. I don't wanna enjoy them for people!"

Northwest Tortoise mostly serves, well, the Northwest with a lot of her rescues coming from Seattle and Portland. She adopts out to all 48 continental states in the U.S. and is always available to counsel people on proper care.

Northwest Tortoise website
Northwest Tortoise Facebook page