A 100-YEAR-OLD giant tortoise known as a symbol for the disappearing species and of the Galapagos Islands has died.
Lonesome George was believed to be the last living member of the Pinta island subspecies. The tortoise had become an ambassador of sorts for the islands off Ecuador’s coast whose unique flora and fauna helped inspire Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution. He was found in his pen by his longtime keeper, Fausto Llerena, the park said in a statement.
‘This morning the park ranger in charge of looking after the tortoises found Lonesome George, his body was motionless,’ the head of the Galapagos National Park, Edwin Naula. ‘His life cycle came to an end.’
Lonesome George’s age was not known but scientists believed he was about 100. That’s not especially old for giant tortoises, who can live well over a century. Scientists had expected him to live another few decades at least. Various mates had been provided for Lonesome George after he was found in 1972. –GN