Tortoise triggers police operation while crossing road in Cologne

A senior tortoise triggered a police rescue operation in Cologne when it tried to cross the road.

Tortoise triggers police operation while crossing road in Cologne
The tortoise who crossed the road. Photo: Cologne Police

The animal, who is male and thought to be around 70-years-old, had a lucky escape when he walked onto a busy crossroads junction in the North Rhine-Westphalia city, police said.

The incident happened on Monday afternoon in the Rodenkirchen district – and several drivers were forced to emergency brake in order to avoid hitting the tortoise.

Emergency services were called out to the scene and described the tortoise as a “sprightly senior”. The tortoise stepped out onto the road around 2.30pm.

The tortoise “ignored other road users, blocked the road and did not let himself be unnecessarily rushed, consistently disregarding all traffic rules,” joked the police.

READ ALSO: Man tries to smuggle tortoises disguised as deserts through Berlin airport

Officers “temporarily” took the tortoise into custody due to his behaviour. He was then taken to an animal shelter.

According to the police, the tortoise had either been abandoned or, after waking up from hibernation, had managed to escape from an enclosure.

Animal keepers said the tortoise was in good health apart from a slightly damaged shell and claws which were too long.

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German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.