“The tortoises deserved better than a life of exploitation and cruelty,” Collette Adkins Giese said in a statement. She's a biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity and attorney dedicated to conserving reptiles and amphibians. “This is a victory for the tortoises and for all the people who spoke out against their cavalier mistreatment.”
But the decision to send the tortoises to a warmer climate had to do "with cold weather and not public pushback," said a statement from longtime Aspen resident Lisbeth Odén who had lead the charge against the exhibit.
"The tortoises have won and they are now on their way to a tortoise sanctuary where they can live out the reminder of their lives in peace," Odén says.
Local veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Kremzier said she recommended sending the tortoises to warmer climes.
“I have worked with the staff from the Aspen Art Museum since the initial planning phase of the Cai Guo-Qiang project. Without question, the welfare of the tortoises has been the highest priority throughout every stage of this exhibition,” Kremzier said in a statement.