By Carl Safina
The Aspen Art Museum might be doing tortoises a favor but probably isn’t. In a new exhibit linked to the opening of a $45-million new facility, an artist named Cai Guo-Qiang, who was born in China and lives in New York, has glued iPads to several African spurred tortoises. They wander around an enclosure while a film about Colorado ghost towns plays on the iPads. In China turtles and tortoises are eaten in numbers large enough that they’ve essentially been wiped from vast areas of numerous countries. Even U.S. turtles are illegally caught and sent there.
So, in a way, getting iPads glued to them is not the worst thing that can happen (as long as the upright tablets don’t get mistaken for shark fins, in which case all bets could be off). Numerous humane groups have complained to the museum, saying that the exhibit is cruel. The museum says it is taking pains to make sure the turtles are well cared for.