A video of two women allegedly lighting a small tortoise on fire and killing it led Florida wildlife officials to begin an investigation.
The video of the gopher tortoise's abuse began circulating on Facebook on July 15, according to a post by the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission on its Facebook page.
The wildlife commission included a three-paneled photo of the tortoise, a threatened species in Florida. The first image shows a hand pouring a liquid onto the reptile's shell followed by flames leaping from the animal in another panel.
"We have received multiple complaints about the videos posted to Facebook last evening showing the killing of a small gopher tortoise," wildlife officials wrote earlier today. "Our officers are investigating the case and are presently working with the State Attorney’s Office to determine what charges may be filed."
In the full video, two women allegedly set the tortoise on fire before picking it up, throwing it against the ground twice and stomping it to death, according to WTVT-TV in Tampa. (The station did not air the footage because of its graphic nature.)
Anyone with information is asked to call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or text Tip@Myfwc.com