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Galápagos Tortoise Species Spotted For The First Time Since 1906 After Being Feared Extinct

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Here's some good news for a change.

The Ecuadorian government has announced that a species of giant tortoise believed to have been extinct for more than 100 years has been discovered on the Galápagos island of Fernandina.

The Giant Tortoise Restoration Initative (GTRI) discovered an adult female believed to be more than 100 years old, according to a government statement. The tortoise was spotted on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. This species of tortoise was last seen alive in 1906.

It's likely she's not alone: Researchers observed the tracks and scent of other tortoises.

"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," said Danny Rueda, director of the Galapagos National Park.

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Conservationists have relocated the tortoise to the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center on the nearby island of Santa Cruz. According to the Turtle Conservancy, the tortoise is "about half to two-thirds the size" of the only other Fernandina Giant Tortoise that's ever been found, which was a deceased male discovered 113 years ago.

Conservationists and animal lovers hailed the news.

Researchers had searched for the tortoise as part of an expedition funded by Animal Planet for the series Extinct or Alive. Global Wildlife Conservation has set up a fundraiser for future expeditions to find a mate for the female tortoise that should help the breeding population recover.

Nature is full of surprises!

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