February 20, 2019 | 9:07pm
The Chelonoidis phantasticus turtle species AFP/Getty Images
A tortoise species thought to have gone extinct more than 100 years ago has been discovered in the Galapagos, authorities said Wednesday.
The last time the tortoise, called Chelonoidis phantasticus, was seen alive was in 1906.
But a recent expedition to Fernandina Island proved otherwise.
The Galapagos Parks Authority and the Galapagos Conservancy Group said they found one alive and well on Sunday, hanging out in a patch of vegetation.
“This encourages us to strengthen our search plans to find other turtles, which will allow us to start a breeding program in captivity to recover this species,” said Danny Rueda, director of the Galapagos National Park.
The species was thought to have died out because of frequent volcanic eruptions on the island. The volcano on Fernandina, La Cumbre, is very active. But officials now believe there could be more of the tortoises, based on traces and excrement in other areas of the island.
The tortoise was taken by boat to the Giant Turtle Breeding Center on the isle of Santa Cruz.