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
Nic Slocum is an experienced naturalist and wildlife guide and is best known for his escorted tours taking enthusiasts out, both in Ireland and overseas, to view and photograph whales and dolphins. Nic maintains a lifelong passion for using the written word to promote the conservation of our wildlife and wild places and has appeared as an expert commentator on both radio and TV. A zoologist by training, Nic has published articles on conservation related issues in regional and national newspapers. Nic is a director of Whale Watch West Cork.com and Whales World Wide.com
Share this post with your friends
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7266 Views]
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [3191 Views]
- POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [2945 Views]
- POLL: Should trophy hunting in Kyrgystan be banned? – [1716 Views]
- POLL: Should SeaWorld be closed down? – [1520 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for continuing to slaughter whales? – [1115 Views]
- POLL: Should Yellowstone’s Iconic Grizzly Bears be Stripped of Federal Protection? – [1013 Views]
- POLL: Should roadside zoos be closed down? – [976 Views]
- Karma? Another Trophy Hunter Has Been Killed by an Elephant [859 Views]
- POLL: Should we prevent our cats from killing birds? – [813 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [7976 Views]
- POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3799 Views]
- POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
- POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
- POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
- POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for slaughtering Minke whales? [2289 Views]
- POLL: Should all tiger farms in China be closed down? [2081 Views]
- POLL: Should the export of elephants to China be banned? [2068 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? [2028 Views]