Lonesome George, Galapagos Island Conservation Icon, 19?? to 2012
According to a statement by the Galapagos National Park Service, the last surviving Pinta Giant Tortoise has passed away, making the subspecies extinct. The age of "Lonesome George" was estimated at least 100 years. The cause of George's death is unknown, though advanced age is not likely: the 5-foot, 200-lb tortoise was expected to live well over 200 years.
"Lonesome George" has served as an icon for the preservation of species in the Galapagos National Parks for decades. Many efforts have been made throughout the years to find a mate for the solitary tortoise, to no avail. At one point a $10,000 reward was offered by the Ecuadorian government for female purebred Pinta Giant Tortoise. The reward went unclaimed. Attempts to breed with similar specieswere not fruitful. George was found near his water hole on Sunday morning.
To learn more about the life of this iconic tortoise, check out
Lonesome George: the life and loves of a conservation icon by Henry Nicholls