Ecuador has confirmed that a giant tortoise found in 2019 in the Galapagos Islands is a species thought to have gone extinct 112 years ago. The Galapagos national park is now preparing for an urgent expedition to search for more of the giant tortoises to save the species.

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Ecuador environment minister Gustavo Manrique was jubilant, saying on his Twitter account, “It was believed extinct more than 100 years ago! We have reconfirmed its existence.”

Dr. James Gibbs, Vice President of Science and Conservation for the Galapagos Conservancy and tortoise expert at the State University of New York, says, “One of the greatest mysteries in Galapagos 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.”

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