Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 24th, 2012
On June 24, 2012 at 8:00 am local time, Edwin Naula, the Director of Parque Nacional Galápagos announced that Lonesome George, the world’s last known example of the the Pinta Island tortoise subspecies (Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni) of Galápagos tortoise, was found dead. Fausto Llerena, George’s caretaker for 40 years, found Lonesome George dead in his habitat. He was found still warm but without life. The cause of death was taken to be natural, due to age.
Lonesome George (Spanish: Solitario Jorge) (c.1912-2012) was believed to be 100 years old.
Lonesome George was found in 1972 and had become a symbol of Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, which attracted some 180,000 visitors last year. It has been said it was the rarest animal in the world. However, we’ve heard that claim for a few other animals, of course, including four Yangtze giant softshell turtles (Rafetus swinhoei) in China and one Hoan Kiem softshell turtle (Rafetus leloii) in Hoan Kiem Lake, in Hanoi, Vietnam (below).