AN appeal has been launched after two "extremely rare" Coahuilan Box turtles were stolen from Dudley Zoo.

Keepers discovered the two males missing from their exhibit in the Reptile House on Saturday morning (July 1).

Staff at the zoo believe it is a targeted theft and the National Wildlife Crimes Unit, alongside West Midlands Police are investigating.

A Dudley Zoo and Castle spokesperson, said: “We believe this to be a targeted theft as we’re the only zoo collection in the country to hold the endangered aquatic species, so we understand how rare they are.

“We are incredibly concerned about their welfare. They’re a small exotic reptile species, native to Mexico, which spends most of the time in the water. They require specialist care and it is essential we get them back.

“The exhibit is accessed from the front public corridor and staff found the lock had been damaged.

"We’ve launched a full review of security in the Reptile House and have already started installing additional bolts alongside the window locks and will manually staff the area until this work has been completed.”

The zoo has said the turtles are easily identifiable, with one measuring around 15cm long, with the other being slightly bigger at around 17cm in length.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the zoo on 01384 215313 or police on 101, quoting log number 1470-01072023.