Monday, June 24, 2013

Ode to Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii. A Long Farewell

Lonesome George was a Galaplagos Giant Tortoise subspecies that inhabited Pinta Island off the coast of Ecuador.  He was significant in that one year ago today- June 24, 2012 - his death resulted in the extinction of his kind on the planet earth.

The subspecies Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii was discovered by British herpetologist Albert Gunther in 1877.  The tortoises inhabited this section of the world for centuries until hunting during the latter half of the 19th C virtually eradicated them.  The introduction of goats in the mid 1950's also denuded the island's vegetation to the detriment of the species. Efforts to exterminate the goats were successful in returning the ecosystem to health.  It was believed that the tortoises were extinct until a single male was discovered in 1971.  Aptly named Lonesome George,  attempts to mate him with other subspecies failed and he lived the remainder of his 40 years... alone.

Lonesome George died from heart failure due to natural causes, at the incredible age of 100!
A sad so long and good bye George.  

                                                         Mourning our loss -  extinction is forever


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