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Giant Tortoise Species Thought To Be Extinct Found Alive In The Galapagos Islands

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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.

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The Galapagos islands are home to a huge variety of wildlife (file picture).

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.

An adult female female Fernandina Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis phantasticus) was discovered by members of the Galapagos National Park and the US NGO Galapagos Conservancy (pictured)

A specimen of the giant Galapagos tortoise Chelonoidis phantasticus, thought to have gone extint about a century ago, is seen at the Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Archipelago (pictured)

No other details have been revealed about the rediscovery of the species long-thought to be extinct. The female has a large body, smooth shell and a pink head

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