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The votes are in and the people have spoken, Mr. Mac the Aldabra tortoise is the U.S. Bank Animal of the Year! The voting was close, but Mr. Mac narrowly edged out Jabari the giraffe and Dolly the red panda.

Mr. Mac isn’t a young man, he’s roughly 100-years old! That means he’s been viewed by millions of Zoo Boise guests and has inspired many of them to take positive actions for wildlife conservation. Just because he’s a tortoise doesn’t mean he’s passive – he’s quite outgoing. He has met with countless school groups and zoo campers, comes out into the zoo and visits with guests during the zoo’s annual Zoobilee gala, and interacts with guests during behind-the-scenes tours. What do all those tours, visits, and experiences add up to? He’s helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund that helps protect wild animals and wild spaces. See the entire list of organizations supported by the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund at https://zooboise.org/conservation/conservation-grants/.

Mr. Mac isn’t just a local celebrity; he’s had his brush with international fame as well. He was featured on an episode of CNN’s “Great Big Story.” The video focuses on Aldabra tortoises and Mr. Mac was the star. You can check out the full video at https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2017/10/29/gbs-aldabra-tortoise.great-big-story.

Here are some quotes about Mr. Mac from zoo staff:

Elaine, Zoo Boise Event Coordinator – “I have encountered several people who are now adults visiting the zoo with their own children but remember seeing Mr. Mac when they were children here with their parents. I remember specifically one father and son. The father was telling his son about his memories and hoping to create new ones with his children. It was very moving.”

Carson, Zoo Boise Vet Tech – “Mr. Mac is a living treasure, older than anyone I know. He seems to enjoy the simple pleasures of life: soaking in a warm tub, taking warm showers, and sunbathing. As an animal ambassador at Zoo Boise he has amazed and impressed countless people, including me, with his huge size, enthusiasm for eating salads, and grunts of pleasure from a little neck scratch. Maybe we can all live a little longer if we learn from Mr. Mac and slow down to enjoy the simple things in life.”

Mr. Mac recently got an upgrade to his exhibit! Next time you visit Zoo Boise, make sure to say hi to Zoo Boise’s oldest and most famous resident, Mr. Mac. It’s because of guests like you, sponsors like U.S. Bank, and the amazing zoo animals that Zoo Boise has become a leader in supporting wildlife conservation. #CommunityPossible