south america | Galapagos Islands

A Visit to Fernandina Island finds the 'extinct' species

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Galapagos Giant Tortoise that was found on Fernandina Island

Quick Facts on this new Galapagos Giant Tortoise Story:

• An adult female Fernandina Giant Tortoise has been discovered in the Galapagos
• An expedition to the island of Fernandina found the animal alive and well
• The female has a large body, smooth shell and a pink head, but no other details have been revealed.
• Only 10 species of Giant Tortoise are thought to have survived human colonization
One of the endemic Giant Tortoise species of the Ecuadorian archipelago of Galápagos, considered extinct a century ago, was found on an expedition on Fernandina Island, Environment Minister Marcelo Mata announced on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. "The expedition, led by the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Conservancy, located a specimen (adult female) of the tortoise species Chelonoidis Phantasticus, which was believed to have been extinct for more than 100 years," said the official. Many species of giant tortoises were over-hunted for their meat by European and other colonists who traveled to the Galapagos archipelago.
Female Giant Tortoise Not Extinct In Galapagos
The Fernandina Giant Tortoise is one of 14 giant tortoise species in the Galapagos but only ten are thought to have survived human colonization and over-hunting for food. The female has a large body, smooth shell and a pink head but no other details have been revealed.

A tweet from Mr. Mata included an image of the Giant Tortoise & the only known specimen collected since 1906:

Anecdotal evidence and unconfirmed sightings have been reported ever since but the tortoise was formally listed on the IUCN red list as 'critically endangered (possibly extinct)'. Surveys and expeditions have turned up evidence of scat previously
Scientists discover Giant Galapagos Tortoise
Scientists on Fernandina Island with extant Giant Tortoise

The International Union for Conservation of Nature:

'These sightings and signs, though needing verification through more extensive surveys, indicate the possibility that the species may remain extant in exceedingly small numbers,'
- IUCN

Paul Schicke
Manager E-Commerce & Direct Sales at Quasar Expeditions

Hello! My name is Paul. I am a photographer, traveler, teacher and writer. I have extensive experience in travel to Galapagos, Peru, Patagonia and the western seaboard of South America specializing in ways travelers can experience these once-in-a-life destinations like locals on the road. Lover of wine, chocolate, travel, coffee, and helping others plan vacations of a lifetime!

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