Lonesome George the last of his kind has died. The Pinta Island Giant Tortoise was found dead in his corral. George was best known for an apparent aversion to females of his species. He was the last known individual of his subspecies.
George’s body will be kept in a cold chamber that will help prevent decomposition until his exact cause of death is determined through a necropsy.
15 subspecies of giant tortoise were originally found on the Galapagos Islands. There numbers were decimated in the 1800s and 1900s by sailors and pirates. They hunted tortoises in large numbers for oil and food.
Now that George has passed on the islands are now home to only 10 subspecies. It was believed that the Pinta island giant tortoise was actually extinct until George was discovered in 1971.
George was taken into captivity and it was hoped that he would mate with a female tortoise of close genetic make-up to continue his lineage. He shared his home for four decades without fertilising any eggs.
It has been said by a San Diego Zoo Ambassador that this loss won’t be major due to the other subspecies still being in existence but history can show that these losses can add to disaster.
He noted that the Passing of George is an opportunity where we can see how our actions impact the future. An international conference will be held in July at the Galapagos national park. It will be a workshop on how to restore the tortoise population over the next decade.