Lonesome George, © putneymark

Iconic Tortoise Dies

The world lost a legend this past weekend.

One of the world’s rarest animals died on Sunday. Lonesome George, a giant tortoise, was estimated to be around 100 years old when a park ranger found him lying motionless in his pen in the Galapagos National Park. Thought to be the last of his kind, he became an icon for the Galapagos. His subspecies (Chelonidis nigra abingdoni) is now functionally extinct.

Lonesome George was found in 1973 and spent the rest of his years in captivity. Efforts to encourage him to reproduce failed. Two females of a different subspecies of giant tortoise were placed in his pen, but once the eggs were laid, they were found to be infertile.

His fame brought thousands of visitors to the islands each year, including human celebrities like Angelina Jolie. This high-profile position lead him to become a symbol of conservation efforts in the Galapagos and globally. The loss of such an icon is a potent reminder of the perils endangered species face.

He will be missed.

9 Responses to “Iconic Tortoise Dies”

  1. Brian

    Blood samples,DNA and anything else that could be taken then used to inseminate another tortoise of similar type may be a great way to carry on his lineage for the next 100+ years or,until a suitable mate has been found to propagate. Something like that. I believe you get my meaning. Thank you for your time. Will miss the old guy.

    Reply
  2. greer griffith

    God speed old friend…..
    I was so lucky to have met you years ago.

    Reply
  3. Julia Brociner

    I met L. George in 1984 when on a trip to Galápagos. I have a picture with him. Is there a way to send it to you?
    I’m sure he will be missed.

    Reply
  4. Ellen Canfil

    I met George many years ago (1979) on my eco-trip to the islands. He was a kindly and poignant gentleman who, because of his age, made me feel connected in a way to Mr. Darwin. The world is a sadder place now.

    Reply
  5. Kris Tohm

    Rest in peace little guy. You will be sorely missed. I hope you enjoy being with all your friends in heaven. Goodbye sweetie.

    I feel so bad that we’re losing so many species so fast.

    Reply
  6. Patti

    Rest In peace. The end of another life livwd in captivity. Its sad that “man” can’t appreciate & or respect the lives of those we share this planet with without having to cage & control. Will we ever learn that we dont have the right to play god?

    Reply
  7. bobbie lee brown

    Trying is sometime futile but we must try. I am truly sorry and saddened buy his loss.

    Reply
  8. Carole Pollack

    The loss of this tortoise, the last of his kind, saddens me. I was fortunate to visit him in the Galapagos a few years ago. Farewell, Lonesome George.

    Reply

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