A 100-year-old tortoise was rescued after it was found chained up in a warehouse in Philippi allegedly to be used as muti.

The Animal Welfare Society of SA says the century-old female leopard tortoise was discovered at a Pick n Pay warehouse, located right next door to them.

Allan Perrins, AWS SA Spokesperson said they received a tip-off about the animal and senior inspector Mark Levendal responded on Thursday afternoon.

He says upon arrival, Levendal found the large malnourished tortoise chained up and straining to reach food. He says a hole was made in the animal’s shell for the five-metre long chain to be pulled through.

AWS said “Our senior inspector Mark Levendal was alerted to the plight of a leopard tortoise that was cruelly tethered with a long chain and kept on the property of Pick n Pay in Philippi.

“He was unable to establish who the tortoise belonged to or how it ended up there.

“It was mentioned that the tortoise may have been brought onto the property by an employee of Liebentrans Logistics, who is a trainee sangoma who was allegedly gifted the tortoise by his uncle.

“Having met with senior management from the Pick n Pay Warehouse yesterday we are satisfied that the tortoise was smuggled onto their premises and kept without their knowledge or consent and take comfort in the fact that they have already launched a formal investigation into the matter and invited us to address their employees on the laws governing animal rights and protection.”

In a statement, Pick n Pay confirmed disciplinary action will be taken against the guilty parties once the investigation is completed.

Perrins says they’ve established the age of the tortoise by looking at the number of rings on its shell.