A former zookeeper at the Oklahoma City Zoo is facing federal charges from the US Fish & Wildlife Services.
Josh Lucas was illegally selling and distributing Galapagos tortoises across state lines.
On Wednesday, Lucas pleaded guilty to a single wildlife trafficking in violation of the Lacey Act.
The Oklahoma City Zoo provided the following statement:
“The Oklahoma City Zoo’s former employee, Josh Lucas, assistant curator of herpetology, was formally sentenced on federal charges from US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) for the illegal sale and interstate distribution of Galapagos tortoises. Mr. Lucas stole Galapagos tortoise eggs from the OKC Zoo, hatched them, and sold the offspring between April and June of 2016. This highly unusual incident has shocked and saddened the entire Zoo staff and has strengthened our vigilance to care for and protect the wildlife entrusted to us. Since learning of the theft in March 2020, the Zoo has modified internal caretaking policies, security procedures and record-keeping for managing this species to prevent this from happening in the future.”