Ira died sometime on Monday. He had been struggling for the better part of 18 months with losing weight. Sarah took him to the vet hospital last winter when I was at the Pole and they gave her some special food and care instructions. She followed all those instructions to the letter and he seemed to bounce back, but never put on the type of weight we hoped. Since the arrival of fall this year he continued losing weight despite soaks in warm water and all sorts of nutritious and tortoise-friendly foods being given to him. It's as though he was tired of living in captivity and had given up on eating.

Sarah discovered his body on Tuesday morning and called me at work. I made him a shroud and that afternoon we hiked into a natural area that is special to us where we buried him in a copse of oaks. His grave is covered by a rock cairn that we built. We're out there year round so I expect that we'll think of him often.

If you want to read some of my past entries about Ira, here are some highlights: - Ira joins the family - My first "tortoise parent" dream - Ira versus The Curb - Ira goes on walkabout - Ira comes out of hibernation