by Jade Small
Members of the Galapagos National Park and the US NGO Galapagos Conservancy have discovered an adult female Chelonoidis phantasticus, also known as the Fernandina Giant Tortoise, thought to be extinct for over 100 years.
The last living Fernandina Giant Tortoise was found in 1906, since then there has been only one unconfirmed sighting in 2009. The exciting discovery means their is a chance of finding more members of the species and also the possibility of breeding.
Many species of giant tortoises were over-hunted for their meat by European and other colonists who traveled to the Galapagos archipelago. The island Fernandina is the third largest in the Galapagos, and also home to one of the worlds most active volcanoes, the La Cumbre. The frequent lava flows often cover almost the entire island, which is another huge threat to any surviving species on the island.