Monumental Discovery: An Expedition Finds a Living Fernandina Giant Tortoise, Thought to Have Been Extinct for 100+ Years

The last time anyone laid eyes on a Fernandina Giant Tortoise Teddy Roosevelt was the president of the United States. Until this past Sunday, that is. That's when an expedition team from the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative discovered a female Fernandina Giant Tortoise, believed to be more than a century old, on the island of Fernandina. It is the first know human sighting of the tortoise since 1906. 

She has been taken to a breeding center on the island of Santa Cruz, where genetic studies will be carried out. According to reports, tracks and odors indicate there may be other members of her species in the area.

 The Fernandina Giant Tortoise is one of up to 15 giant tortoise species that once roamed the Galapagos Islands. A few have gone extinct and most of the rest are critically endangered due to overhunting by humans, predation by invasive rats and other species, and habitat destruction. 

Image ©Ecuador's Ministry of the Environment

Matt Kareus

Matt is the Executive Director of IGTOA.

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