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Not so extinct tortoise found in Galápagos Islands

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Not so extinct tortoise found in Galápagos Islands

The rare Ferdinand tortoise was thought to be extinct but a 100+ year old female was recently found.

The rare Ferdinand tortoise was thought to be extinct but a 100+ year old female was recently found.

photo via wikimedia commons under the creative commons license

The rare Ferdinand tortoise was thought to be extinct but a 100+ year old female was recently found.

photo via wikimedia commons under the creative commons license

photo via wikimedia commons under the creative commons license

The rare Ferdinand tortoise was thought to be extinct but a 100+ year old female was recently found.

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People have not seen the Fernandina giant tortoise since 1906, but on February 17 a great discovery was made. The Guardian reported that the thought extinct tortoise was found during a joint expedition by the U.S.- based Galápagos Conservancy and the regional Galápagos National Park.

Investigators are still very excited and intrigued considering the extra findings that they discovered. Because experts also detected tracks and the scent of other tortoises potentially belonging to the same species, they believe there are more members of the not-so-extinct species lingering around the island.

The one adult female that was found has been transported to a breeding center for giant tortoises like her on Santa Cruz Island. This tortoise is thought to be well over 100 years old, and she will spend time in a pen specifically customized for her.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature first theorized that the species might have perished due to the frequent volcanic lava flows that nearly cover the island of Fernandina. Fernandina is home to La Cumbre- one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

In the past, besides the last visual confirmation of a living tortoise in 1906, there has been evidence of bite marks on cacti that appeared to match the mark/bite pattern of the Fernandina species. There has also been one unconfirmed sighting in 2009 adding a sense of mystery and excitement to the century-long mystery of the Fernandina tortoise species.

The Fernandina tortoise is one of the 14 giant tortoises species that exist on the Galápagos Islands.  Over half of these species are listed as endangered, CNN reported. Over the past 200 years, these tortoise populations have decreased because of human interest in tortoise meat and oil. The finding of this rare Fernandina tortoise has shed new light on the efforts of discovering more endangered tortoise species.

Danny Rueda, director of the Galápagos National Park, stated, “This encourages us to strengthen our search plans to find other (tortoises), which will allow us to start a breeding program in captivity to recover this species.”

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Not so extinct tortoise found in Galápagos Islands