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Missing tortoise returns home, hungry and healthy, to Queens environmental center

Millennium’s “initial return was slow, as turtles are,” an educator from Alley Pond said with a laugh.
Missing tortoise returns home to Queens environmental facility.
Millennium, seen here with APEC staffers, was missing for more than a week. (Twitter/@NYPD111Pct)

Talk about a turtle-y amazing tale. Millennium, the 17-year-old tortoise that went missing from a Queens environmental education center last week, has safely returned home.

The African spurred tortoise was located at the Fairfield Metro-North station in Fairfield, Connecticut, on Tuesday after police received a tip someone was trying to trade him for a musk turtle, officials said. Fairfield is about 60 miles north of New York City, where Millennium resides at the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston.

While the NYPD told Metro on Thursday that there have been no developments in who was trying to trade Millennium, APEC staff are relieved he’s home at last.

“As time passed, we kind of felt he wasn’t going to return,” educator Venus Hall said. “His initial return was slow, as turtles are,” she added with a laugh. "After a few minutes, he was moving around, and he really ate and then there was a lot of movement.”

APEC shared video of Millennium "running around" the center, seemingly saying hello to his animal friends.

That includes his best friend Mini Me, who had been both lethargic and aggressive following Millennium’s mysterious disappearance.

“She sat at the same little tray of food and nudged noses; you could tell they identified with each other,” Hall said.

She said that Millennium does not appear to have been harmed in any way during his weeklong kidnapping, though he was hungry when he was brought home.

While APEC hopes the person or persons who took him are found, they’re glad Millennium's back where he belongs.

“The main concern was just to understand how to better protect our animals. Realizing he has value, we’ve already adapted [the facility] to be safer for our animals,” Hall said.

On July 17, staffers realized that Millennium was missing and not hiding or burrowed in his garden when a back gate appeared to have been tampered with.