The Loneliest Animals
Update: Galapagos Tortoise Lonesome George Dies

Lonesome George, a Pinta Island subspecies of Galápagos giant tortoise believed to be the last of his kind, died on Sunday, June 24. Scientists have made countless and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to have the tortoise mate since he was discovered in 1972. Lonesome George was believed to have been about 100 at the time of his death, not particularly old for a giant tortoise—experts expected him to live for another 30 to 40 years. Galápagos National Park officials plan to investigate cause of death. The one-of-a-kind tortoise was featured in the PBS Nature film The Loneliest Animals. Lonesome George’s death serves as a reminder that it is so important to protect flora and fauna, large and small, in a world where up to 100 species a day are pushed into extinction.

The giant tortoise Lonesome George

The giant tortoise Lonesome George

The giant tortoise Lonesome George

The giant tortoise Lonesome George

The giant tortoise Lonesome George

The giant tortoise Lonesome George

  • Neko Noir

    I am saddened to hear of the loss of this tortoise. However, please clarify: if he was the last of his kind, who were scientists attempting to have him mate with?

  • FriarJim

    This is so sad. Were they trying to mate him with another subspecies of Galapagos Tortoise?

  • rachel

    Most likely with females of the most closely related species of Galapagos tortoise (”most closely related” can be determined by combinations of molecular biology, geography, etc).

  • dancer

    Is it not possible to use artificial insemination with tortoises like with cattle? Oh, well, they had 40 years to try, didn’t they?

  • dan

    farewell friend of the earth. you will be missed.

  • Lin

    RATS! Major bummer! I’d always hoped he’d find some comfort in another tortoise, but I guess the species divide was just too great for him. Fly away George. In your next life, maybe you’ll stay two hundred years. I hope you enjoyed your century here.

  • The Yankee Carpenter

    He missed his Gracie….

  • Nathan

    What a beautiful creature. I’m sad to hear of his death, we need to refocus on what’s really important; saving species of animals who have no one to speak up for them.

    Rest his soul.

  • Ron Bennett

    And my plans were to travel to the Los Galapagos, this coming winter and Lonesome George won’t be there. Bummer.

  • cyndi

    Sometimes I am ashamed to be a human…we are guardians of this planet and this is a classic example of what a stellar job we are doing.

  • AlexG

    What ever happened to cloning?

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