A lumbering giant Galapagos tortoise known as Lonesome George lifts his head up during a walk in his protected home in the island chain in Puerto Ayora this February. Lonesome George was the last remaining tortoise of his kind and a conservation icon
Photo: (c) Stringer/Files
Lonesome George, the last remaining tortoise of his kind and a conservation icon, died on Sunday of unknown causes, the Galapagos National Park said. He was thought to be about 100 years old.
Lonesome George was found in 1972 and had become a symbol of Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, which attracted some 180,000 visitors last year.
“This morning the park ranger in charge of looking after the tortoises found Lonesome George, his body was motionless,” the head of the Galapagos National Park, Edwin Naula, told Reuters. “His life cycle came to an end.”
George was believed to be around 100 years old and the last member of a species of giant tortoise from La Pinta, one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park said.
The giant Galapagos tortoises, which can live up to 200 years old, were among the species that helped Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution in the 19th century.
The Galapagos National Park is considering embalming George’s body so that it can be displayed in the park, Naula said.
A spokesperson said the park plans to carry out a necropsy to determine what may have killed the tortoise.
Scientists had been trying to get George to mate since 1993, when they introduced two female tortoises of a different subspecies into his pen. They laid eggs twice, but they were infertile.
The pen where George lived was visited by thousands of tourists every year, who often had to scramble with each other to take pictures of one of the rarest creatures on Earth.
The islands often attract celebrities, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt earlier this year.
Tortoises were hunted for their meat by sailors and fishermen to the point of extinction, while their habitat has been eaten away by goats introduced from the mainland.
Some 20,000 giant tortoises still live on the Galapagos.
First published in World Environment News
You may also like:
Leave a Comment
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- 13 newly-discovered birds declared extinct » [752 Views]
- POLL: Should the Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji Cove be stopped? » [743 Views]
- Iceland’s Seabird Colonies Are Vanishing, With “Massive” Chick Deaths » [553 Views]
- Trophy Hunting in Africa – Wildlife Slaughter in Graphic Images » [477 Views]
- The 1,300 Bird Species Facing Extinction Signal Threats to Human Health » [420 Views]
- Barn owls ‘threatened’ by new legislation » [387 Views]
- Russia Stops Japanese Whaling Ship Dead In Its Tracks » [383 Views]
- Komodo and its Dragons » [331 Views]
- Petition: Russia, Stop Wild Orca Captures! » [315 Views]
- Scientists catalog the world’s 10,000th reptile » [298 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should China’s shameful tiger farms be closed down? » [12264 Views]
- POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [9316 Views]
- POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [7932 Views]
- Petition: Stop Lion Canned Hunting in South Africa – Shocking Video » [7450 Views]
- POLL: Should the fox-hunting laws in the UK be relaxed? » [7015 Views]
- POLL: Should the Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji Cove be stopped? » [5638 Views]
- POLL: Should the Slaughter of Grouse be allowed to continue? » [5460 Views]
- Wildlife Photography – Ethics and Conservation Issues? » [5210 Views]
- Komodo and its Dragons » [4694 Views]
- Trophy Hunting in Africa – Wildlife Slaughter in Graphic Images » [4395 Views]