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‘Extinct’ Galapagos tortoise reemerges after 100 years, researchers say

Scientists discovered a tortoise found in the Galapagos Islands belongs to a species believed...
Scientists discovered a tortoise found in the Galapagos Islands belongs to a species believed to be extinct. (Source: Government of Ecuador via CNN Newsource)
Published: May. 26, 2021 at 11:45 AM CDT
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SANTA CRUZ, Ecuador (Gray News) - Scientists discovered a giant tortoise found in the Galapagos Islands belongs to a species believed to be extinct.

The variety of tortoise hadn’t been seen for more than 100 years, according to a statement released by the Ecuadorian government.

Researchers with the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative first found it in February 2019 on the island of Fernandina.

The tortoise belongs to the Chelonoidis phantasticus species. It is also known as the Fernandina Giant Tortoise, according to a CNN article. A genetic study was used to confirm its species.

Before the recent discovery, a specimen of the species was last seen in 1906.

In the statement, the director of the Galapagos National Park said the discovery “strengthens their plans” to find other species of tortoises as well as start a breeding program to “recover the species.”

The tortoise is a female and is believed to be about 100 years old. Researchers speculate the tortoise isn’t alone and say they’ve found tracks and scents of other tortoises believed to be of the same species.

According to the statement, the tortoise was taken to a center for giant tortoises on the nearby island of Santa Cruz.

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. CNN Newsource contributed to this report.