First wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois in years found

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Researchers are reporting the first sighting of a wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois in 30 years.

In a news release, the University of Illinois says that state Natural History Survey herpetologist Chris Phillips was looking for a young male alligator that had recently been released in Union County's Clear Creek when he discovered a 22-pound female that was at least 18 years old.

Now researchers are trying to determine whether the discovery of the state-endangered species offers hope about the animal's survival on its own or is the last of its kind to have survived in Illinois without human intervention.

It's also not clear how much help this particular turtle will be because after researchers attached a radio transmitter to its back for tracking, the transmitter battery died.