Turtle considered extinct 100 years ago is discovered in Galapagos
Department Ministry of the Environment, Ecuador

Fabulous news re discovery of 100 year old giant tortoise on Fernandina; these were
previouslythought to be extinct on the most volcanically active Galapagos island.

Conservationists are rejoicing over the discovery of a giant tortoise species which has been thought to be extinct for 100 years.

·        In 1906 it was the last time a live specimen of this species was seen.

·        Traces found on Fernandina Island motivated the expedition.

·        Genetic studies will confirm if the specimen corresponds to this island.

This female is estimated to be 100 years old. With giant
tortoises living up to 200 years, there’s hope she can help
her species recover.

Chelonoidis phantasticus , is the species of tortoise of Fernandina Island that was found in its natural habitat after 100 years of believing itself extinct. This discovery was made by an expedition of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI), a project implemented jointly by the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Conservancy, which had as one of its objectives to locate the enigmatic turtle.

The Minister of the Environment, Marcelo Mata Guerrero, said that the Galapagos National 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. “

The turtle was found on Sunday February 17, 2019, in a patch of vegetation in the lower area of ​​Fernandina Island. It is an adult female that possibly exceeds one hundred years. Washington Tapia, Director of the GTRI

 and leader of the expedition indicated that genetic studies will be carried out to reconfirm that the individual found is of the Fernandina Island species.


“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 Galapagos National Park (e).

The specimen was transported by boat, from Fernandina, located west of the archipelago, to the Giant Turtle Breeding Center in Santa Cruz, and will remain in the custody of the park rangers, in a specially implemented pen for their stay.

Jeffeys Malaga and Washington Tapia, made the discovery, believe that it is possible the existence of more individuals in Fernandina, because they found traces and 

excrements in other areas of  the island, separated by lava flows of recent eruptions. Fernandina is one of the youngest and pristine islands of the archipelago. It has an are
a of 638 square kilometers, becoming the third largest in the Galapagos archipelago. Its volcano, La Cumbre, is one of the most active in the world.