Box Turtle and Tortoise Discussion :: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

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Post Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:43 pm   RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-18574279

Staff at the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador say Lonesome George, a giant tortoise believed to be the last of its subspecies, has died.

Scientists estimate he was about 100 years old.

Park officials said they would carry out a post-mortem to determine the cause of his death.

With no offspring and no known individuals from his subspecies left, Lonesome George became known as the rarest creature in the world.

For decades, environmentalists unsuccessfully tried to get the Pinta Island tortoise to reproduce with females from a similar subspecies on the Galapagos Islands.

Park officials said the tortoise was found dead in his corral by his keeper of 40 years, Fausto Llerena.

While his exact age was not known, Lonesome George was estimated to be about 100, which made him a young adult as the subspecies can live up to an age of 200.

Galapagos icon

Lonesome George was first seen by a Hungarian scientist on the Galapagos island of Pinta in 1972.

Environmentalists had believed his subspecies (Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni) had become extinct.

Lonesome George became part of the Galapagos National Park breeding programme.

After 15 years of living with a female tortoise from the nearby Wolf volcano, Lonesome George did mate, but the eggs were infertile.

He also shared his corral with female tortoises from Espanola island, which are genetically closer to him than those from Wolf volcano, but Lonesome George failed to mate with them.

He became a become a symbol of the Galapagos Islands, which attract some 180,000 visitors a year.

Hunted to extinction

Galapagos National Park officials said that with George's death, the Pinta tortoise subspecies has become extinct.

They said his body would probably be embalmed to conserve him for future generations.

Tortoises were plentiful on the Galapagos islands until the late 19th century, but were later hunted for their meat by sailors and fishermen to the point of extinction.

Their habitat furthermore suffered when goats were introduced from the mainland.

The differences in appearance between tortoises from different Galapagos islands were among the features which helped the British naturalist Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution.

Some 20,000 giant tortoises of other subspecies still live on the Galapagos.
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Post Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:08 am   Re: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

I just read that a little while ago. He was such a beautful turtle. I was sadden to read he died. It's even more sad knowing his subspecies is now extinct.

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Post Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:37 am   Re: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

RIP George
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Post Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:39 pm   Re: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

Saw this too, actually in are local newspaper too. Very sad
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:26 am   Re: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

I came to post this exact thing. :( George is the last endling we've had in captivity since 1936. The last was the last Tasmanian Tiger, Benjamin. This whole thing only made worse by the sudden nature of his death. I was fascinated with his story since I was a kid and regret not being able to see him!
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:50 pm   Re: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

Read about this and how they tried so many times to get him to procreate. It got us thinking about cloning. Since in vitro didn't work I wonder why they didn't try this. It could have at least gotten the subspecies a jump start and then they could go from there. I read they are going to do a survey of the islands to verify their are no more to include minor subspecies.
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:51 pm   Re: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

That's a bummer. Let it be a lesson to heartless reptile hunters, if that statement is not redundant. Long live every other subspecies of Galapogas tortoises. They're such amazing animals, and statues of our planet's history.
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:08 am   Re: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

I've always despised Europeans (no offense) because of their ancestors who made too many things extinct :x :evil: (dodo, passenger pigeon, Bubal hartebeest, carribean monk seal, thylacine, ect., ect.)
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:55 pm   Re: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

Aqua&turquoise wrote:I've always despised Europeans (no offense) because of their ancestors who made too many things extinct :x :evil: (dodo, passenger pigeon, Bubal hartebeest, carribean monk seal, thylacine, ect., ect.)


Wow. Why should you despise Europeans as a whole, for the sins of their ancestors. Makes not a bit of sense to me.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:38 pm   Re: RIP: Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise

I want him; he looks so sad :/
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