Tortoise thought to be extinct for 100 years found in Galapagos

Posted at 8:45 AM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 08:45:31-05

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.