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Nature & Environment

'Extinct' giant tortoise found alive on Galapagos Islands

By T.K. Randall
June 12, 2022 · Comment icon 7 comments

One of the many species of giant tortoise on the Galapagos. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Andy Mitchell
Scientists have discovered a tortoise belonging to a species thought to have died out 100 years ago.
Several species of Galapagos giant tortoise have gone extinct over the last few decades, but now it appears as though one of these has made a rather unexpected comeback.

The last time anyone had seen a member of the chelonoidis phantasticus species of giant tortoise was in the early 20th-Century, but it turns out that a specimen named Fernanda (after Fernandina Island), which was discovered in 2019, genuinely belongs to that same species.

A further investigation has also revealed evidence of additional specimens on the same island.

While Fernanda, who is thought to be around 50 years old, seems to have suffered from stunted growth and is a bit smaller than she should be, there are hopes that she will be able to live for many more years to come at the Galapagos National Park Tortoise Center.

"What comes next for the species depends on whether any other living individuals can be found," said Dr Evelyn Jensen from Newcastle University's School of Natural and Environmental Sciences.

"If there are more Fernandina tortoises, then a breeding programme could start to bolster the population."

Source: BBC News | Comments (7)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by HandsomeGorilla 2 years ago
A freakin awesome biologist named Forrest Gallant and his team found this beautiful girl in quite bad health, at first. I'm so glad to see she's doing so well! I get to play with Galapagos Tortoises anytime I want! ❤️ They're such gentle and sweet creatures. When I enter their yard, they immediately perk up and start moving towards me. When they get in front of me, they arch their backs and stick their necks in the air to be petted. They LOVE attention and I love giving it to them. They have nerve endings in their shells and love to be scratched there, too. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Uncle Yammy 2 years ago
Best post I have read on here in a long time 
Comment icon #3 Posted by taniwha 2 years ago
You sound like a freakin awesome person yourself! I hope you get a chance to see that great big tortoise in person. We could use people of your genuine caliber in NZ to help protect our endangered Giant snails! Mind your hands though they are carnivorous!  Enjoy!  
Comment icon #4 Posted by jethrofloyd 2 years ago
This kind of news will soon appear for the Thylacine too.
Comment icon #5 Posted by HandsomeGorilla 2 years ago
What an amazingly sweet thing to say, thank you! I just have an immense passion and love for fauna, flora and fungi; especially ones that don't get much my bugs, critters and mushrooms!  Aren't you from New Zealand?! How awesome! On my bucket list! You have some absolutely amazing wildlife and fungi there that's completely unlike anywhere else. Especially the purple and blue mushrooms! Here are a few
Comment icon #6 Posted by Hawken 2 years ago
Quite a few species that were once declared extinct have been rediscovered, Such as the Pygmy Right Whale and the Coelacanth.
Comment icon #7 Posted by taniwha 2 years ago
Your welcome. I knew not of any those mushrooms and do live here so go figure, I only focused on collecting the magic ones, lol, and can appreciate your enthusiasm immensely! All I can say is 'Hone Heke!+!  (WOW!+!)' Come here and apart from flora, fauna and fungi you will surely develop another love for 'f' words namely freedom, forest and flightless birds!  Ka kite! See you!

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