A team of scientists made a major discovery in the south of Illinois, when they spotted an animal seen so rarely that they feared it might have gone extinct. The animal in question was an alligator snapping turtle, and it was the first time in 50 years when scientists could see it. However, shortly after discovering the rare species, they lost track of it again.
Researchers lost the alligator snapping turtle shortly after spotting it
This was the second individual belonging to the alligator snapping turtle species that scientists have seen in 50 years. Therefore, they attached a transmitter on the back of the turtle, hoping they might track it back to where it lives, and maybe find other specimens.
However, back luck struck the researchers. The battery of the radio transmitter quickly died off, and they are no longer aware of the location of the alligator snapping turtle. They hope their discovery proved the existence of other specimens, and that this particular turtle wasn’t the only one left alive.
Researchers need to know if other specimens might be hiding in the wild
Unfortunately, one single specimen wandering around is no solid proof of the existence of a stable population. If there are no others of its kind left alive, the animal might keep moving from one place to another while waiting for the end to come. However, researchers keep hoping.
They spotted the alligator snapping turtle near Clear Creek, an area of the Mississippi River where other turtles of the same species were last seen 50 years ago. Now, researchers hope this region provides a good environment for the species to thrive.
Such kind of discoveries can be vital for an endangered population. Spotting such a specimen in the wild should tell researchers if a group of animals need protection, or if it’s already endangered and new specimens need to be reintroduced in the wild.