Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lonesome George

Lonesome George, the giant tortoise who became the face of the Galapagos Islands conservation effort, was found dead in his corral last Sunday morning, according to a statement by the Galapagos National Park Service. He was believed to be more than 100 years old and weighed 200 pounds.

 He is the last known Pinta Island giant tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdoni), and his death likely marks the complete extinction of his subspecies.

Fausto Llerena, Lonesome George’s long-time caretaker, discovered the tortoise stretched out, leaning toward his watering hole. The cause of death remains undetermined and the tortoise’s body is being held in a cold chamber to avoid decomposition before officials conduct an autopsy.

Lonesome George was found on Pinta in 1972 although Pinta tortoises were thought to be extinct. Since then, Lonesome George has been part of the Tortoise Program of the Galapagos National Park Service. Various unsuccessful efforts were made to get George to reproduce.  Mind you, at a hundred I don’t think I’ll be too interested either…


  1. I am now thinking "how would one (successfully or otherwise) encourage a tortoise to reproduce"? Show him photos of shell-less female tortoises? Rub "eau de lettuce leaf" on the female?

    ... I may never sleep again. Thanks for that. 8-)

  2. Hmmm! Well I wonder if they've thought of 'old age' as a cause?!!! I'm back in blogland pretty well now I think. Another week should make it certain. Then to get new glasses. YEAH!

  3. Oh, what a pity. It brings the reality of extinction home to me to read this. Poor old George, doesn't sound as if he had much of a life!

  4. Awe :( He's a pretty amazing creature, isn't he? He reminds me of the old wise turtle/tortoise from one of the Disney movies that I've seen with my boys.

  5. Sad. I have always been fascinated with the Galapagos islands. Maybe someday...but George won't be there. Sad.

  6. Aw. What a pity. Another animal species bites the dust.

  7. Poor George. What a long neck he had, he does look like he belonged to the age of dinosaurs rather than the modern world ;) Let's hope he went to tortoise heaven (probably located in Real Narnia)!


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