'Extinct' giant tortoise found alive on Galapagos Islands

Chelonoidis phantasticus.
Chelonoidis phantasticus. Photo credit: Marcelo Mata/Twitter

A species of giant tortoise thought to be extinct has been found alive and well on the Galapagos island of Fernandina.

An adult female Chelonoidis phantasticus has been spotted, Ecuador Environment Minister Marcelo Mata announced.

There has only ever been one previous confirmed sighting of the species, with a single specimen found in 1906.

The one spotted recently has a smooth shell and pink snout.

At least 14 species of giant tortoise once lived on nine of the Galapagos Islands. Today, only 10 species living on six islands remain.

It was previously believed volcanic activity had wiped Chelonoidis phantasticus out.


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