Programme educating public on hibernation of tortoises

FOOD FOR THOUGHT The committee of the Hampshire Tortoise Society. From left: Pauline Bromly, Penny Daish, Doug Keen, Lorna Davis, Julie Hinks and Sue Tait		            Picture: Allan Hutchings (160425-023)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT The committee of the Hampshire Tortoise Society. From left: Pauline Bromly, Penny Daish, Doug Keen, Lorna Davis, Julie Hinks and Sue Tait Picture: Allan Hutchings (160425-023)
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Members of the Hampshire Tortoise Society hosted a coming-out-of-hibernation programme in the Whiteley Community Centre to inform the public on ways to help their tortoises’ transition.

The group, led by Julie Hinks, 49, gathered on Sunday afternoon to discuss tips and tricks with current members of the society and also to educate the general public.

Scores of people attended the event, which saw various committee members talk about the importance of helping tortoises come out of hibernation properly, as well as handing out a care sheet for people to take away.

Mrs Hinks said: ‘The event was definitely a success and we had a good turnout. We spoke about the best way to bring a tortoise out of hibernation and getting it off to a good start.

‘We also discussed what to feed them when they first emerge, and how to get the tortoises to begin eating quickly after hibernation.’

In 2012, Mrs Hinks, from Fareham, won an award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare to honour her ongoing dedication to the reptiles.

The founder of Tortark continued to reveal what can happen if hibernation goes wrong.

‘We found one of our tortoises in Bursledon, Southampton,’ she said.

‘He emerged from hibernation after most likely escaping them digging himself into the ground, so has probably been lost since last year.

‘He is being cared for by us at the moment, along with another stray we found in North End, Portsmouth, but we are trying to track down the rightful owners.’

The Hampshire Tortoise Society is a non-profit organisation committed to the welfare of tortoises in captivity.

Its next event is being held on Saturday, April 2 between 2pm and 4pm. An open surgery will take place at the Tortark HQ, opposite Garsons Garden Centre, in Fontly Road, Titchfield.

Contact Mrs Hinks at htsjulie@btinternet.com, call 01420 590208 or visit hampshiretortoisesociety.org.