"Extinct" Giant tortoise found after 100 years!

Posted by Marianne Salmans

“The Galápagos Islands remain a pristine destination where special discoveries are still being made. Similarly on February 17, 2019 …”

An expedition from the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI) has found a giant tortoise that was thought to be extinct. The “Chelonoidis phantasticus” was seen for the last time in 1906 and it was believed that this species had disappeared due to volcanic activity. Traces that were previously found on Fernandina motivated the expedition to continue searching. Genetic studies will confirm whether this tortoise indeed matches the island.

The tortoise was found on Sunday, February 17, 2019, in a patch of vegetation on the coast of the island of Fernandina. It is an adult female who may be more than a hundred years old.

The National Park will look for other specimens to try and set up a breeding program to restore and strengthen the population. Footprints and droppings have been found in other parts of the island, separated by lava flows from the recent eruptions (June 16, 2018).

Fernandina is the youngest and most unspoilt island in the archipelago. It covers an area of 638 square kilometres, the third largest island in the Galápagos archipelago. Its volcano La Cumbre is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. This island can only be visited by cruise expedition. Read more about the beautiful island of Fernandina here.

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