Conservationists are rejoicing over the discovery of a giant tortoise species which has been thought to be extinct for 100 years.
According to a statement that was released by Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment, this giant tortoise has not been seen on the Galápagos Islands since 1906.
Thanks to a recent expedition to the island of Fernandina, however, researchers discovered a female Fernandina Giant Tortoise that is believed to be over 100 years old.
Also known as Chelonoidis phantasticus, the turtle’s existence was discovered during an expedition conducted by the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI).
Since the Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago, researchers have renewed their efforts in exploring the island so they can track down other surviving tortoises as a means of saving them from extinction.
“This encourages us to strengthen our search plans to find other turtles, which will allow us to start a breeding program in captivity to recover this species,” said Danny Rueda, director of the Galápagos National Park.
Conservationists have since transported the tortoise to a Santa Cruz breeding center in hopes of restoring the tortoise species and ensuring its survival for generations to come.
“[The park] has the full support of the National Government and the Ministry of Environment to develop the research deemed necessary to ensure the conservation and preservation of the species that host the Islands Galapagos,” said the Minister of the Environment, Marcelo Mata Guerrero.
BREAKING NEWS! GC’s own @wacho_tapia just returned from Fernandina Island in #Galapagos, where they discovered a female #tortoise. Tortoises on Fernandina have been thought to be extinct for over 100 years, so this is a monumental finding! Photos © GNPD, W. Tapia pic.twitter.com/fhQpIzsHmM— GalapagosConservancy (@SaveGalapagos) February 20, 2019
Be Sure And Share The Good News With Your Friends On Social Media – Photo by Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment