Two years ago, the tortoise was found on Fernandina Island, one of the youngest and most pristine in the archipelago, during a joint expedition between the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Conservancy.
On May 25, 2021, Ecuador confirmed that the massive turtle is a species considered extinct a century ago.
The Galapagos National Park is now preparing an expedition to search for more of the giant tortoises in an attempt to save the species.
Scientists from Yale University identified it as the Chelonoidis phantasticus species, which had been considered extinct more than a century ago.
“Yale University revealed the results of genetic studies and the respective DNA comparison that was made with a specimen extracted in 1906,” the Galapagos Park said in a statement.
In the Galapagos Islands, many varieties of tortoises live together with flamingos, boobies, albatrosses, and cormorants, a family of species of aquatic birds.
It also houses a large amount of flora and fauna in danger of extinction.
“It was believed extinct more than 100 years ago! We have reconfirmed its existence,” Environment Minister Gustavo Manrique wrote on his Twitter account.
According to data from the Galapagos National Park, the current population of giant tortoises from various species is estimated at 60,000.
One was known as “Lonesome George,” a male Pinta Island tortoise, the last known of the species, who died in 2012 without leaving any offspring.