Lately, feel-good news is hard to come by, but this week we have exactly that. That’s because government officials and researchers in Ecuador just confirmed that a giant tortoise found several years ago is actually a rare species they thought went extinct around 112 years ago.
Back in 2019, Scientists from the Galapagos National Park found the unique turtle on Fernandina Island, one of the Galapagos Islands. The researchers had suspicions she was very rare, previously thought extinct, and in fact a member of the Chelonoidis Phantasticus. They nicknamed her Fern, a fitting name, then sent samples off to Yale University for further research.
It took three years, but this week they finally got their answer. The lone female tortoise found on the island is a match and has a genetic similarity with the Fernandina Giant Tortoise species. Hurrah!
Fern now lives in a wildlife conservation center. Both the GNPD and Galapagos Conservancy group have launched an urgent expedition to Fernandina Island, hoping to find a mate and save the species. They’re taking donations, too, if you want to help with the search to save the turtles.