Fernandina Galápagos Tortoise

scientific name: Chelonoidis phantasticus

Last seen: 1906 in the Galápagos

Years lost: 113

Only one individual Fernandina Galápagos Tortoise has ever been found—on Fernandina Island, the youngest and least-explored of the Galápagos Islands. Could a large tortoise go undetected on an island? According to Himalayan mountaineering legend Eric Shipton, the odds of rediscovering a Fernandina Tortoise are at least better than those of finding a Yeti. An expedition in 1964 discovered putative tortoise droppings, and a fly-over in 2009 reported sightings of something tortoise-like from the air, renewing hope that this species may yet be holding on.

UPDATE (2.20.19): We are awaiting the results of genetic testing to confirm the rediscovery of the Fernandina Galápagos Tortoise in the Galápagos--an exciting rediscovery announced on Discovery Channel's Animal Planet show, Extinct or Alive, by outdoor adventurer and TV personality Forrest Galante.