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.
BREAKING NEWS! GC’s own @wacho_tapia just returned from Fernandina Island in #Galapagos, where they discovered a female #tortoise. Tortoises on Fernandina have been thought to be extinct for over 100 years, so this is a monumental finding! Photos © GNPD, W. Tapia pic.twitter.com/fhQpIzsHmM— GalapagosConservancy (@SaveGalapagos) February 20, 2019
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.It's amazing to me that an animal that big and slow can stay missing on a small island for 113 years.
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.
I'm certainly happy about the finding, and would much rather lose the Bramble Cay
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.