A 100-year-old tortoise was discovered in Galápagos that was thought to be an extinct species. Scientists believed that this species was unknown for a long time, but finally, they found a single tortoise on Fernandina Island.
Experts from Yale University conducted several tests to conclude that Fran was indeed 100 years old. And this species was assumed to be extinct for almost 112 years. Now, they are trying to find him a partner to mate, hoping to revive the species.
“One of the greatest mysteries in Galápagos has been the Fernandina Island Giant Tortoise. Rediscovering this lost species may have occurred just in the nick of time to save it. We now urgently need to complete the search of the island to find other tortoises,” said Dr. James Gibbs, Vice President of Science and Conservation for the Galápagos Conservancy and a tortoise expert at the State University of New York.
If researchers found some more members of this species, then they will transfer them to the rescue and breeding center on Santa Cruz Island. The rescue mission is not easy for the team as they found Fran, a 100-year tortoise, near the active volcano. He was covered within the landscape of hard volcanic debris.
The Director of the Galápagos National Park said in a press release that they are searching the whole island in the hope of finding some more. They will begin their search again starting this September. The national park did many searches back ago, but in 1906 they found a deceased male, and in 2019 they found a lone female tortoise during the expedition.
A blood sample was sent to the Yale University, and Yale geneticist Gisella Caccone confirmed that he is Fern or Fernanda related to Chelonoidis phantasticus tortoise species found on that island. Environmental activists and actor Leonardo DiCaprio tweeted about this magnificent discovery. He said that it creates hope for the future.
Giant tortoises are critical to #rewilding the Galápagos. Fern pictured below is the only-known Fernandina Giant Tortoise – giving us hope for the rediscovery of the remaining lost species on @rewild's list.
Photo: Lucas Bustamante pic.twitter.com/VBPTfBi920
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) May 27, 2021