Tortoise thought to be extinct for 100 years found in Galapagos

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A giant tortoise considered extinct a century ago and recently found in the Galapagos Islands is now quarantined at the Santa Cruz Breeding Centre, one of the territories of the Ecuadorian archipelago.

The Fernandina giant tortoise (Chelonoidis phantasticus) was last seen on a voyage in 1906.

The adult female Fernandina giant tortoise was found on Sunday on the Galápagos Islands.

The tortoise was taken by boat to the Giant Turtle Breeding Center on the isle of Santa Cruz.

While giant tortoises once thrived on most of the continents of the world, the Galapagos tortoises now represent one of the remaining two groups of giant tortoises in the entire world, according to the Galapagos Conservatory.

The tortoise is believed to be about 100 years old.

According to the conservancy, should more be found they will be brought into captivity with this female in hopes that they may breed and young can be reared. "Pending genetic confirmation, this is nearly undoubtedly the lost Fernandina Giant Tortoise".

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But, the website alluded to the chance that the species may be "holding on", citing tortoise droppings that were found during an expedition in 1964 and a fly-over of the island in 2009, where people on board "reported sightings of something tortoise-like from the air".

The species of tortoise hasn't been seen in 100 years, which is when it was said to have gone extinct.

It is important to mention that the islands are well known for their unique and exceptional flora & fauna that has inspired life scientist, Charles Darwin to write his landmark 1859 study on evolution - The Origin of Species. The animal was buried in thick vegetation on Fernandina Island in the Galapagos.

In 2012, a tortoise called "Lonesome George", died, and officials said it was the last of the Pinta island subspecies.

The Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are an archipelago made up of 19 islands and located about 600 miles off of the coast of Ecuador. With no natural predators, they spread across the islands and split into different species. Their numbers were also hit by invasive species likes pigs, rats and dogs that eat their eggs while animals such as goats destroyed their home.

Scientists have discovered that the tortoises have genetic variants linked to DNA fix, with healing power that enables their longevity.

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