FERNANDINA, Galápagos – A tortoise thought to have gone extinct in 1906 has been rediscovered on an island in the Galápagos.
Chelonoidis phantasticus, a species native to the island, was thought to have gone extinct over 100 years ago, but according to the Galápagos Ministry of the Environment, a female specimen was discovered alive and well Sunday. She was discovered in a patch of vegetation by the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI) and may be over 100 years old.
Washington Tapia, Director of the GTRI and leader of the expedition that made this discovery, said genetic tests will be carried out to confirm the tortoise is really a Fernandina giant tortoise.
According to a release, the tortoise was taken by boat to the Giant Turtle Breeding Center in Santa Cruz and will remain there under the care of park rangers.
BREAKING NEWS! GC’s own @wacho_tapia just returned from Fernandina Island in #Galapagos, where they discovered a female #tortoise. Tortoises on Fernandina have been thought to be extinct for over 100 years, so this is a monumental finding! Photos © GNPD, W. Tapia pic.twitter.com/fhQpIzsHmM
— GalapagosConservancy (@SaveGalapagos) February 20, 2019