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By Mark Hallum

PETA has put out a $5,000 reward for any information leading authorities to the whereabouts of Millennium, a 17-year-old African spurred tortoise which was stolen from his enclosure at Alley Pond Environmental Center in Bayside sometime between the late afternoon of June 16 and early the next morning.

“Millennium was the victim of a brazen kidnapping and his fate now is unknown,” says PETA Vice President of Communications Colleen O’Brien. “PETA is calling on anyone with information to come forward so that this tortoise can be safely returned and those responsible held accountable.”

Millennium had been under the care of staff at the facility for about a decade before unknown individuals broke into the outdoor enclosure, causing damage and removing the rare and beloved reptile, according to police.

Sasha Sicard, executive assistant at the Alley Pond Environmental Center, expressed grief at the loss of the animal and said many in the community shared her distress.

“We’ve had him for over 10 years,” Sicard said. “He was part of the community. We have some very upset children and adults who miss him. We would just like to have him back. Right now, we don’t have much information. For now, all we know is that it was a breaking and entering. We have damage to the gate. He lived in an outdoor closure. They left his friend ‘Mini-me’ inside — he stayed inside an outdoor garden.”

According to Sicard, thousands of schoolchildren visit the facility to see Millennium every year.

PETA encouraged anyone with information about the incident to report it to the 111th Precinct in Bayside.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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