Friday, July 6, 2012

A Tribute to Lonesome George

  Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.  The Galapagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands located about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador.  Instead of taking a boat cruise like most people who visit the Galapagos Islands, I stayed in a hotel on the island of Santa Cruz.  The main inhabited area of Santa Cruz is called Puerto Ayora and it is also home to the Darwin Research Center.  At this Center, the giant tortoises of the Galapagos are studied including a tortoise named Lonesome George.  Lonesome George was the last known giant tortoise of his sub-species.  He came from Pinta Island and he was believed to be over 100 years old.  Since Lonesome George was the last of his kind, there was a hope that he would mate with other female giant tortoises from other sub-species so that his DNA would still be passed on.  Mating Lonesome George proved to be unsuccessful and unfortunately on Sunday June 24, 2012, he died.  Above is a photo of Lonesome George in the forefront with a female companion behind him.  It saddens me that a creature as both wonderful and gentle as Lonesome George would be forced into extinction because of mankind.  Giant tortoises were largely exploited by humans for food at the end of the nineteenth century and in the end humans were the ones that attempted to save what they had so long ago damaged.  Lonesome George will be a symbol that will live on and teach people to respect all living creatures and not take lives for granted.

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