This Extinct Galapagos Tortoise Was Just Rediscovered

“She’s the rarest tortoise, if not animal, in the entire world and one of the largest discoveries in the Galapagos in the last century,” Forrest Galante, biologist and host of Animal Planet’s series, Extinct or Alive.

Forrest Galante with the rediscovered Fernandina tortoise on February 17, 2019 in the Galapagos.

In the good news department, a species of Galapagos tortoise thought to be extinct since 1906 was rediscovered on February 17, 2019.

The Fernandina Tortoise which was last seen more than 100 years ago was found this week, February 17, 2019, under some brush sheltering herself from the equatorial sun. Biologists from the Turtle Conservancy who examined her said that photos from the expedition team clearly show a moderately saddle-backed, old female about half to two-thirds the size of the known male.

The last known sighting of the species of tortoise was male in 1906. In celebration, the Turtle Conservancy and Global Wildlife Conservation are pledging a $100,000 match to further conservation efforts of the Fernandina Giant Tortoise.

“As a biologist and someone who has dedicated my life to the pursuit of animals believed extinct, this is by far my greatest scientific accomplishment and proudest moment,” said Forrest Galante, host of Animal Planet’s Extinct or Alive and biologist.  “Much like Lonesome George was an icon of extinction, I believe she can become an icon of wildlife hope.”

Susanna Dinnage, Global President, Animal Planet said that as the rate of animal extinction is widely debated, this rediscovery gives them great hope that some species are surviving against the odds.

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