Lonesome George Passes On- the Last of His Kind

Jun 25, 2012
The Reptile Report
by Robyn

The Reptile Report - Early this morning, Lonesome George, the sole remaining Pinta Island tortoise and Galapagos conservation icon, was found dead in his corral at the Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Center in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, by members of the Galapagos National Park Service.

Lonesome George was found on Pinta Island 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. Over the years, various efforts were made to get George to reproduce. Two female tortoises collected on Wolf Volcano (Isabela Island) were put in Lonesome George’s corral. These females produced eggs at the end of 15 years with Lonesome George. Unfortunately all of the eggs were infertile. Later two females from the Espanola tortoise population (the species most closely related to Pinta tortoises genetically) were with George until the end.

The plight of Lonesome George provided a catalyst for an extraordinary effort by the government of Ecuador to restore not only tortoise populations throughout the archipelago but also to improve the status of other endangered and threatened species.

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