The Galapagos Islands just got a whole lot lonelier.
The giant tortoise named Lonesome George — the last of the Pinta Island subspecies and an enduring icon of the Galapagos — died Sunday, the Galapagos National Park said in a statement.
George, who was discovered in 1972 in the islands that inspired Charles Darwin’s ideas of evolution, was about 100 years old. Galapagos tortoises have been known to live for 200 years.
“This morning the park ranger in charge of looking after the tortoises found Lonesome George, his body was motionless,” park director Edwin Naula told Reuters. “His life cycle came to an end.”
George was discovered in 1972, and was believed to be the last Pinta tortoise, also known as the species Geochelone abigdoni.
Since 1993, various mates had been provided for Lonesome George in failed attempts to keep his subspecies alive. Two females of a different subspecies managed to lay eggs, but they were infertile.
George was actually named after American actor George Gobel, a TV star of the 1950s, who called himself “Lonesome George.”
About 20,000 giant tortoises still live on the Galapagos, a chain of Pacific Ocean islands belonging to Ecuador.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/rare-giant-tortoise-lonesome-george-dies-galapagos-islands-article-1.1101707#ixzz1ymPf2BoZ