Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Farewell to Lonesome George

It was a sad day here at Gypsy Wood when we learned of the death of one of the rarest animals of its kind in the world. Lonesome George was a sub-species of the giant tortoise who lived on the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, some 6,000 miles from Gypsy Wood Park.

Phew, it's a long way away, but we can't help thinking that little old George was adorable! He was nicknamed Lonesome George not only because he was the last of his species, but because he was such a shy creature and liked nothing more than to while away his time on his own.

Lonesome George became famous in Ecuador, and is a symbol of conservation and an icon of evolutionary studies. He appeared on their bank notes and was a major tourist attraction.

But, George had a good long life; it's hard for his keepers to determine exactly how old he was, but he was thought to be over 100 years old when he died last week.

Although George's sub-species of tortoise (known as the Pinta Island Tortoise) is now extinct, there are many other types of giant tortoise. Nevertheless, his death and the loss of his sub-species is extrtemely sad for conservationists across the world.

You can find out more about Lonesome George here and about the work of the Charles Darwin Research Centre on the Galapagos Islands here

Lonesome Geroge at home
image by Mike Weston on wikicommons

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