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Giant Tortoise Believed To Be Extinct Found On The Galapagos Islands

Rebecca Shepherd

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Giant Tortoise Believed To Be Extinct Found On The Galapagos Islands

A species of giant tortoise that was believed to have gone extinct more than a century ago has been discovered in the Galapagos Islands.

This is either an amazing revelation or the tortoise had an incredible hiding spot...

Scientists found the giant animal. Credit: CEN
Scientists found the giant animal. Credit: CEN

The adult female Fernandina Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis phantasticus) was discovered by members of the Galapagos National Park and the US NGO Galapagos Conservancy.

The group was reportedly carrying out an expedition on the island of Fernandina in the western Ecuadorian region of the Galapagos Islands.

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The discovery was announced by the Ecuadorian environment minister Marcelo Mata, although no other details have been revealed yet.

According to the MailOnline, a tweet from Mr Mata included an image of the reptile and the only known specimen was collected in 1906.

People responded to Mr Mata's tweet, some asked for it to remain in its natural habitat which struck a chord with others.

One person hit back saying: "In fact it is expected that it will not be left in its habitat because it is an endangered species."

Another added: "I agree to be captured for preservation purposes."

A third person commented: "Excellent news for Galapagos, Ecuador and the world. At the end of the tunnel there is always a glimmer of hope. Congratulations".

Here she is, the adult female Fernandina Giant Tortoise. Credit: CEN
Here she is, the adult female Fernandina Giant Tortoise. Credit: CEN

The Fernandina Giant Tortoise is reportedly one of 15 giant tortoise species in the Galapagos.

In 2015, Ecuador proudly announced the discovery of a new species of tortoise on the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos.

It was named Chelonoidis donfaustoi in honour of Fausto Llerena who took care of 'Lonesome George', a male Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdonii) and the last known individual of its species.

Lonesome George died in 2012, according to local media.

Scientists believed the tortoise was extinct. Credit: CEN
Scientists believed the tortoise was extinct. Credit: CEN

Scientists believe that tortoises first arrived in the Galapagos two to three million years ago after drifting 600 miles from the South American coast on vegetation rafts or of their own accord. They were already large reptiles before arriving on the Islands.

Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos for five weeks on his second voyage and they appeared in his writings, playing a key role in the development of the theory of evolution.

Featured Image Credit: CEN

Topics: News, Animals

Rebecca Shepherd
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