For years, his species was thought to be extinct. Then on Pinta Island in the island chain of Galapagos, there he was, roaming the place alone.
Scientist immediately identified him as a Pinta Island Tortoise, and searched the island for more. Sadly, he was the only one, a male who came to be known as Lonesome George.
On Sunday, June 24, 2012, after more than 100 years on this Earth, Lonesome George died. He was found dead by his keeper, the very same man who discovered him on Pinta Island in 1972. Lonesome George lived at the Charles Darwin Research Station, where he spent his days in a pen.
Travelers from around the world by the thousands would flock to Galapagos to have a look at George. I was fortunate to be among them last summer when I visited the Galapagos, hands down one of my favorite places on Earth.
George’s death, which was announced by the research center on Twitter, shocked the nation of Ecuador, despite his advanced years – more than 100. News of his death slowly trickled out from the island. I learned about his death through Facebook postings from friends in Ecuador and Galapagos itselt. Certainly it’s a lost for the country, but it’s a bigger loss for humankind, as another animal species has gone extinct.
Sadly, there will never be another Lonesome George.
Oh, but if only…
- Pinta Island Tortoise (naesnest.me)
- Gentle Giant: The Tragedy of Lonesome George (neatorama.com)
- Top 10 Rare Animals (thesciencebulletin.wordpress.com)