Giant Tortoise Believed Extinct for 100 Years Found in Galápagos

A rare species of giant tortoise, feared extinct for more than 100 years, has been sighted on the Galápagos island of Fernandina Sunday.

An adult female Fernandina giant tortoise, Chelonoidis phantasticus, was spotted by an expedition of the Galápagos National Park and the Galapagos Conservancy.

The team thinks there may be more of the species on the island because of tracks and feces found. The team took the tortoise, which is probably more than 100 years old, to a breeding center for giant tortoises on a different Island.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has had the Fernandina giant tortoise listed as possibly extinct.

The only other living member of the species was found in 1906. Expeditions have encountered tortoise feces and bite marks on cacti, and there was a possible unconfirmed sighting, but Sunday’s was the first confirmed sighting.

Fernandina is the third largest Galapagos island. The archipelago lies in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles off of Ecuador’s mainland.



Photo Credit: Galapagos National Park