A giant tortoise from the Galapagos Islands is believed to be extinct, and this tortoise is believed to have been missing for more than a century.
Researchers discovered this female on Fernandina Island in Galapagos during a joint expedition conducted by the Galapagos National Park Service and the Galapagos Reserve in 2019 Tortuga, according to a statement. They nicknamed her “Fernanda”.
At the time, the research team was “convinced” that the only tortoise was the “lost” Fernandinha giant tortoise (Chelonoidis phantasticus), a species native to the island, believed to be due to Fernandina. The eruption and extinction lasted 112 years. To the statement. But for confirmation, they sent a blood sample to a geneticist at Yale University.
The Yale team compared the genes of this tortoise with the genes of the only other tortoise found on Fernandina, a male Chelonoidis phantasticus discovered by scientists in 1906. The Yale team confirmed that the two are closely related, and Fernanda is actually the same species.
Dr. James Gibbs, vice president of Science said that one of the greatest mysteries in Galápagos has been the Fernandina Island Giant Tortoise, rediscovering this lost species may have occurred just in the notch of time to preserve it. The protection of the Galapagos Reserve and turtle experts from the State University of New York said in a statement that we now urgently need to complete the search on the island to find other turtles.
The researchers hope to avoid the famous Lonesome George (Lonesome George), which is another species called Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdoni). The last tortoise. According to a previous report by Life Science, it died in June 2012 at about 100 years of age, causing its species to cease breeding.
Danny Ruda Cordoba, director of the Galapagos National Parks Bureau, said in a statement that
“We really want to avoid the fate of lonely George. I am in the park and the Galapagos Nature Reserve. The team is planning a series of major expeditions, preparing to return to Fernandina from September to find more turtles.”
During the expedition, scientists found traces of at least two other turtles, which may have come from the Fernanda clan on the Fernandina volcano.
If they find a male giant tortoise at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center in the Galapagos National Park in Santa Cruz, the team will try to pair it with Fernanda and encourage its reproduction; if successful, environmentalists will Raise the cubs in captivity and bring them back to Fernandina. 4,444 The number of giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands decreased significantly in the 19th century due to exploitation by whalers and pirates, according to a statement.
Currently, it is believed that the number of giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands is only between 200,000 and 300,000, about 10% to 15% of the historical number.