Field Notes

extinct species

Extinct No More

Giant Tortoise Discovered

Extinct species? What do a giant tortoise and a giant bee have in common? They are both big? True, but even better, they both were thought to be extinct and have been newly discovered alive. How exciting!

A Giant Tortoise on Fernandina Island in The Galapagos was discovered on Feb 17, 2019, during the filming of an episode of Animal Planet. The female is estimated to be over 100 years old and had not been seen since 1906. Now the hunt begins for other members of her species.

She now lives at a Tortoise Breeding Center on the Island of Santa Cruz which is part of The Charles Darwin Research Center which we visited last year. While she appears healthy, she is underweight. At the facility, she will be cared for and possibly bred if a suitable mate can be found. The breeding center has a long track record of successfully breeding and reintroducing giant tortoises to various Galapagos Islands.

Read more about the discovery here.

extinct species

Giant Bee Discovered

And in Jan 2019 the Wallace’s Giant Bee was discovered in North Moluccas, an island in Indonesia. The bee was first discovered in 1859 but had not been seen in 38 years. And it is hard to miss with a wingspan of 2.5 inches!

And what irony: both the Giant Tortoise & The Wallace’s Giant Bee were associated with Charles Darwin. The bee is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, an English entomologist who worked with Darwin to develop his theory of evolution.

Read more here.

extinct species

Two Extinct Species Discovered

Both species are on the 25 “lost” species list compiled by Global Wildlife Conservation. The 25 animals on the list are presumed extinct since they have not been seen for at least a decade. Now we can take 2 extinct species off the list!

What might be next? Stay tuned…

If you want to help, make a donation to Global Wildlife Conservation, a 4 star Charity Navigator. See why we recommend 4 star rated organizations here.

And according to the Animal Planet website “In celebration of this historic discovery, the Turtle Conservancy and Global Wildlife Conservation are pledging a $100,000 match to further conservation efforts of the Fernandina Giant Tortoise. To have your donation matched, go to www.globalwildlife.org.”

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