The adult female tortoise was found on the island of Fernandina in the west of the Pacific archipelago, and is believed to be a Fernandina Giant Tortoise, also known as Chelonoidis phantasticus, a species last sighted in 1906. "BREAKING NEWS! GC's own @wacho_tapia just returned from Fernandina Island in #Galapagos, where they discovered a female #tortoise", the tweet read.
Galapagos was declared a National Heritage Site in 1979 in recognition of its unique species, animals and plants, terrestrial and marine that served as the basis for the English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory of the evolution of species.
Newly rediscovered Fernandina Giant Tortoise, which was long considered as an extinct species. But officials now believe there could be more of the tortoises, based on traces and excrement in other areas of the island.
Conservationists have taken this tortoise to a breeding center on a nearby island.
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature now lists the Fernandina Giant Tortoise as critically endangered and possibly extinct. There was an unconfirmed sighting in 2009. The last sighting of the species was in 1906.
The Fernandina giant tortoise is one of 14 tortoise species native to the Galapagos Islands, most of which are endangered. "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", he said in a statement. Despite the island deriving its name from its giant tortoises, volcanic activity, invasive species, and human exploitation have resulted in the animals becoming endangered. A volcano there is one of the most active in the world.
Researchers believe that their environment could be one of the reasons for the species being under threat, with unsafe lava being present on the volcanic island.
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