Giant Tortoise Helonoidis Phantasticus Believed to Be Extinct for More Than a Century Found in Galapagos Island (See Pictures)
Chelonoidis phantasticus - giant tortoise (Photo Credits: @SaveGalapagos Twitter)

A species of giant tortoise believed to have been extinct for more than 110 years was recently discovered. The Ecuador government confirmed the appearance of the tortoise on the Galapagos island of Fernandina on Sunday. Adult female Chelonoidis phantasticus, also known as the Fernandina giant tortoise, was spotted during a joint expedition of the Galápagos National Park and the US-based Galapagos Conservancy, Ecuador's environment ministry said. The last known time a Fernandina Giant Tortoise was seen alive was in 1906.

The missing of this creature was majorly constituted due to their killing for food and oil. More than a lakh has died in the past century. The species never were seen in the past 100 years and hence believed to be extinct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature had declared the Fernandina giant tortoise as critically endangered and possibly extinct. The Fernandina Giant Tortoise is one among the 14 giant tortoise species that are native to the Galapagos Islands. Madagascar Pochard, World's Rarest Bird Thought to Extinct for a Decade Comes Back to Natural Habitat With the Help of Rescue Teams.

Check out pictures of the giant tortoise here:

In 2009, there was an unconfirmed sighting following tortoise faeces and bite marks on cacti. However, the recent finding becomes the official confirmed sighting of the tortoise. The team has now shifted the tortoise which is over 100 years to a breeding centre for giant tortoise on Santa Cruz island. The creature will live there in a specially designed pen. The ‘Rio’ Bird Blue Macaw Parrot, Among 8 Other Species, is Now Officially Extinct, Study Confirms.

Danny Rueda, director of the Galapagos National Park was quoted as saying, "This encourages us to strengthen our search plans to find other (tortoises), which will allow us to start a breeding program in captivity to recover this species." The Galapagos archipelago includes 19 islands in the Pacific Ocean spread over roughly 1,000km from the Ecuadorian coast. In 1959, the Galapagos were declared a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.