‘Lonesome George’, the iconic giant tortoise of the Galapagos Islands has died. Estimated to be over 100 years old, George was the last of the Pinta Island tortoise, subspecies Geochelone nigra abingdoni. I visited his captive home, the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz island in 2007. Alone in his bathing pool, George looked a sad sight but the efforts of staff at the centre are to be commended. It cannot be easy, tasked with protecting the wildlife of these iconic islands.
The Pinta Island tortoise – and a conservation icon – is now extinct. Sadly, many more endemic/threatened/rare species of the Galapagos are in danger of being lost forever. To discover more, visit the Galapagos Conservation Trust website.