Last Pinta Island Tortoise, Lonesome George, Dies
Lonesome George, the last surviving Pinta Island Giant Tortoise, has died. This discovery came from Fausto Llerena, George’s keeper of many years.
Lonesome George lived at the Galapagos National Park on the Galapagos Islands. He was closely monitored by scientists at the park because he was widely considered to be the last of the subspecies Chelonoidis abingdoni. George was provided mating partners by scientists, but nothing ever became of it.
“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 improve the status of other endangered and threatened species,” according to the statement posted on the park’s website.
While his exact age was not known, Lonesome George was estimated to be about 100-years-old, and has served as a symbol for the ecological system of the Galapagos Islands since his discovery in 1971 by bioligist Joseph Vagvolgyi.
Next month an international workshop will be held to develop a strategy for managing the tortoise populations over the next 10 years to ensure their comeback, Galapagos National Park director Edwin Naula said.
“The workshop will be held in honor of Lonesome George,” the national park said, adding that “the creature’s legacy will be greater efforts in research and management to restore the Pinta Island population and all the other giant tortoise populations in the Galapagos.”
The Galapagos Islands, situated about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off Ecuador’s coast, are considered a haven for tortoises.