© 2021 Public Radio Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
(918) 631-2577

A listener-supported service of The University of Tulsa
PRT Header Color
classical 88.7 | public radio 89.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Listen to LIVE coverage of U.S. Supreme Court abortion case oral arguments Wednesday morning at 8:30 on KWGS 89.5 FM.
Local & Regional

Ex-Oklahoma City Zoo Employee Sentenced For Tortoise Trafficking

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
File photo.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former Oklahoma City Zoo employee was sentenced to probation and community service after pleading guilty to trafficking stolen Galapagos tortoise hatchlings, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Joshua Taylor Lucas of Austin, Texas, pleaded guilty in federal court in Oklahoma City to a felony wildlife trafficking count. The former assistant curator of herpetology at the Oklahoma City Zoo admitted that he stole several hatchlings while working at the zoo and shipping them to a Nevada man.

Besides three years’ probation and 100 hours of community service, Taylor was ordered to pay $32,500 in restitution to the Oklahoma City Zoo.

The Galapagos tortoise is the largest in the world, and federal wildlife officials say hatchlings carry a black-market value starting at $5,000 each.

“The exploitation and trafficking of endangered wildlife for personal profit is unacceptable,” Acting U.S. Attorney Robert Troester said in a statement.

An attorney for Lucas didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on the sentence.

Related Content