Monday, February 25, 2019

What Was Lost is Found

Giant Tortoise Feared Extinct Reappears After 113 Years
The Fernandina giant tortoise, which has not been seen alive since 1906, has been spotted on its namesake island in the Galápagos, says the government of Ecuador.

The tortoise herself may be over 100 years old, according to a statement released Wednesday by Ecuador’s ministry of the environment.

The Fernandina tortoise, native to the Galápagos Islands, is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and some feared it might be extinct.

The tortoise was found by park ranger Jeffeys Malaga and tortoise preservation expert Washington Tapia, members of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI). The collaborative project between Galápagos National Park and the Galápagos Conservancy, an American nonprofit, aims to breed tortoises in captivity and reintroduce them to islands where the animals have become endangered or entirely absent.
It's amazing to me that an animal that big and slow can stay missing on a small island for 113 years.

I'm certainly happy about the finding, and would much rather lose the Bramble Cay mouse melomys than one of the Galápagos tortoises.

In another return from extinction story,
. . . another “giant” species long feared extinct also showed up this year—Wallace’s giant bee ( Megachile pluto).

Last seen in 1981 by entomologist Adam Messer, this Indonesian insect is the world’s largest known bee species. The wingspan of the female can reach 2.5 inches, though the male is only half as big.

Which is OK, as long as they stay in Madagascar.

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