fernandina galápagos tortoise
In 2021, scientists at Yale University, with support from Re:wild and other partners, confirmed a genetic match between the only individual Fernandina Galapagos Tortoise (or Fernandina Giant Tortoise)—collected in 1906—and a single female tortoise found during a 2019 expedition to Fernandina Island. The finding marked the seventh rediscovery of one of Re:wild’s original top 25 most wanted lost species and the longest lost on that list.
When the animal was found in 2019 on an expedition led by the Galápagos National Park Directorate and Galapagos Conservancy and supported by Discovery’s Animal Planet, the main question the team had to answer was whether she was, in fact the possibly extinct Fernandina Galapagos Tortoise or a different tortoise species in the form of an individual translocated from another island.
With that mystery solved, researchers will be trying to determine if there are other individuals on the island and, if so, whether they are also Fernandina Galapagos Tortoises. Fernandina Island is the youngest and least explored of the Galápagos Islands.