The Galapagos Islands Lose an Honored Resident: RIP Lonesome George

Lonesome George was the last of his kind. Imagine that. We just witnessed a subspecies extinction. He was the only Pinta Island Tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii) left and all attempts to breed him with other subspecies ended in failure. He was believed to be about 100 years old, making him a young buck for a species that can make it to double that age! While Lonesome George was in captivity for his own protection, you can see many of these huge saddleback tortoises around the islands in the wild.

I took this photo of George a few years ago when I was on an expedition cruise of the Galapagos Islands, perhaps my most favorite of all my trips.

There are still 10 subspecies left of these tortoises, spread throughout the Galapagos islands and numbering about 20,000.

You can see a short video from my Galapagos trip.

2 thoughts on “The Galapagos Islands Lose an Honored Resident: RIP Lonesome George

  • June 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm
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    Aw, that makes me so sad to see that no matter how much we progress with technology, medical sciences, etc…we can’t stop the extinction happening around us :-/

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    • June 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm
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      I imagine they’ve preserved some DNA, so who knows what strange wonders they can come up with some day? I am also reminded and humbled when I think that extinction is also a natural part of reality. Sometimes we are the cause, but sometimes it’s just Mother Nature in action. Most of us (species) haven’t been here very long in the grand scheme of things.

      Reply

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