A giant tortoise which was believed to have been extinct for over 100 years has been rediscovered on a remote volcanic island.
The Fernandina Tortoise had not been seen since 1906, however, specialists believed it may still exist in the Galapagos Islands. An expedition funded by TV channel Animal Planet for the series Extinct or Alive was led by the host and leading biologist, Forrest Galante.
According to the mirror:
The tortoise was found sheltering from the equatorial sun, buried deep under a pile of brush. A huge celebration ensued as all parties involved were able to positively identify the animal in question as an older female C.Phantasticus based on shell morphology and facial characteristics. A team of international turtle biologists at the Turtle Conservancy studied photos and video of the tortoise and confirmed it is likely to be Chelonoidis phantasticus.
Anders Rhodin of the Turtle Conservancy and IUCN specialist group said: “Since only one other specimen of this species has ever been found (a deceased male collected in 1906), we have never seen a female of the species,”
The tortoise is healthy however underweight, which the experts say is unsurprising considering the sparse vegetation in the area she lived in on the volcano.
She has been taken to the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center, a national park office in Isla Santa Cruz. This facility will guarantee her ongoing survival, a healthy diet and perhaps if sperm retention has occurred, fertile eggs and offspring.