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  1. ITV Report

Tortoise considered extinct 100 years ago is discovered in Galapagos

Back from the dead: the Chelonoidis phantasticus species spotted again after 100 years. Credit: Ministry of the Environment/Ecuador

A species of tortoise last seen over a 100 years ago has been spotted on the Galapagos Islands.

A member of the chelonoidis phantasticus species has not been seen since 1906 and these giant tortoises were considered to be extinct.

But a solitary member of this group was found on Sunday on Fernandina Island after an expedition by the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI), a project implemented by the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Conservancy.

Giant Turtle Breeding Centre on the archipelago's Santa Cruz. Credit: Twitter/GalapagosConservancy

The tortoise, an adult female, could be even older than 100, experts believe and discovery could be the start of a whole new lease of life for the species.

Danny Rueda, director of the Galapagos National Park said: "This encourages us to strengthen our search plans to find other tortoise, which will allow us to start a breeding program in captivity to recover this species."

The turtles and her rescuers. Credit: Twitter/GalapagosConservancy

The nameless tortoise was transported by boat to the Giant Turtle Breeding Centre on the archipelago's Santa Cruz where she is being looked after by park rangers in a specially designed pen.

Jeffeys Malaga and Washington Tapia, who made the discovery, believe that she may not be alone and there could be other members of this elusive species in Fernandina.