Large tortoise considered extinct over a century in the past discovered on Galapagos

A big tortoise thought to have gone extinct 112 years in the past has been rediscovered on the Galapagos’ Fernandina Island.

Scientists at Connecticut’s Yale College confirmed genetic similarity between a now-deceased giant male present in 1906 and a lone feminine big tortoise discovered throughout a 2019 joint expedition of the Galapagos Nationwide Park Directorate (GNPD) and Galapagos Conservancy.


A blood pattern despatched to Yale geneticist Gisella Caccone confirmed that the feminine “Fernanda” or “Fern” is expounded to the Chelonoidis phantasticus tortoise species native to the island, the conservancy stated earlier this week

It is a discovery even actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio tweeted about. 

“Large tortoises are important to #rewilding the Galápagos. Fern pictured beneath is the only-known Fernandina Large Tortoise – giving us hope for the rediscovery of the remaining misplaced species on @rewild’s record,” DiCaprio stated, referring to the worldwide conservation group Re:wild, of which he’s a founding member. 

Re:wild works instantly with the GNPD and Island Conservation and this 12 months DiCaprio introduced a $43 million pledge to enact sweeping conservation operations throughout the area.

Now, the hunt for a male tortoise is on, in a determined try to save lots of the species. And, in a panorama dominated by an energetic volcano, no much less.

“To keep away from the identical tragic destiny as Lonesome George – the final Pinta Large Tortoise who died in 2012 – an pressing expedition to Fernandina Island will probably be launched by GNPD and Galápagos Conservancy to discover a mate and save the species,” the group wrote.

If the search proves fruitful, a male tortoise could be united with Fernanda on the Galapagos Nationwide Park’s Large Tortoise Breeding Heart in Santa Cruz, California.

After breeding underneath the attention of researchers, the tortoises could be returned to Fernandina. 

Earlier than 2019, solely one of many Fernandina Large Tortoise had been discovered throughout a year-long California Academy of Sciences expedition in 1905.

The discharge stated that earlier populations of the Fernandina Large Tortoise species had been believed to be extinct as a consequence of volcanic eruptions and that the present inhabitants of big tortoises all through the Galapagos archipelago is now simply 10%-15% of its historic numbers.

Park rangers have reportedly discovered tracks and scat of no less than two different tortoises in the course of the expedition and plan to set out once more in September.


“One of many best mysteries in Galápagos has been the Fernandina Island Large Tortoise. Rediscovering this misplaced species could have occurred simply within the nick of time to reserve it. We now urgently want to finish the search of the island to seek out different tortoises,” stated James Gibbs, vp of science and conservation for the Galapagos Conservancy and tortoise knowledgeable on the State College of New York, stated within the launch.

So as to take action, the conservancy has launched an pressing name for donations to undertake the trouble.

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