The last known Galapagos Tortoise named Lonesome George died on June 24, 2012. During his last years, he was popularly known as the rarest creature on the Earth. He was believed to be about 100 years old.
Lonesome George : An icon of Wildlife Conservation
Lonesome George was acclaimed last tortoise of Chelonoidis Nigra Abingdoni (Also known as Pinta Giant Tortoise, Pinta Island Tortoise, Abingdon Island Giant Tortoise, Abingdon Island Tortoise) which is a subspecies of Galapagos Tortoise. He was a conservation icon and potent symbol of conservation attempts of rare species, in Galapagos and in the whole world. He was also center of attraction for tourists and naturalists throughout the world. Last year about 1,80,000 visitors has visited Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands to see the giant tortoise.
The natural lifespan of Giant Galapagos Tortoises is approximately 200 years. These tortoises were some of creatures which had helped British Naturalist Charles Robert Darwin to formulate his theory of natural selection.
Cause of Extinction and Mating Efforts carried on Lonesome George
George was firstly found by Jozsef Vagvolgyi (A Malacologist from Hungary) on Pinta Island on December 1, 1971. The vegetation at Pinta was ruined by introduced feral goats, which caused the deaths of tortoises of Chelonoidis Nigra Abingdoni family. Later only Lonesome George was left of his kind.
Mating efforts of George had been attempted since 1993. Previously he lived in Ecuador’s Pinta Island, but later he was migrated to Charles Darwin Research Station at Santa Cruz Island where his breeding attempts were being made by scientists. He was mated with two female tortoises of different subspecies, which caused them to produce eggs but the eggs were not fertile and could not be breeded.
After-Death Events of Lonesome George
Edwin Naula (Director of Galapagos National Park) on June 24, 2012 (Sunday, 8 AM Local Time) has declared that Lonesome George was found dead by his caretaker Fausto Llerena (Age 40 Years). It is believed that the death was due to heart failure indicating the end of his natural life cycle. The Director has decided to perform Necropsy (Postmortem of Animals) on George to find out the actual cause of the death. He was about 100 years old and weighted more than 90 Kg. The Galapagos National Park is planning to embalm (protect a dead body from decaying) his body and display in the park for visitors.
This event may have caused total extinction of his subspecies. We have cited ambiguity because some more tortoises of the subspecies may be left unfounded on Pinta Island or on neighboring Islands of Galapagos.
Lonesome George – Death News of the Last Giant Galapagos Tortoise
Watch this exclusive video news on the death of the awesome turtle.