Monday, October 21, 2013

The Pinta Island Tortoise

There are many species of tortoises that are about to be extinct, but nothing compares with the case on the Pinta Island. Here, there was only one male Galapagos tortoise, the Lonesome George. He was considered representative for the efforts of conserving the species. George is about 100 years old, and he only missed a companion. Some sources say that there was a reward of 10 000 dollars for any person that is able to find a partner for George. There are also skeptical opinions about the uniqueness of George. A Zoo in Prague claims that it has an exemplar just like George, and it is called Tony, but the information is not confirmed.

George died in 2012, leaving many mysteries behind. According to the researchers, there are 17 Galapagos tortoises that have about the same genetics as George. This means that his death is not the end of the Galapagos tortoises. The islands of Galapagos were first visited by Europeans during the 16th century.

Lonesome George was discovered in 1972, when it was believed that tortoises of his kind were extinct. It is possible for other tortoises to exist on the island. Once, there were 300 000 giant tortoises on this island, but the species was ravaged by pirates during the 18th century, which killed the tortoises for fresh food. Today, there are about 30 000 tortoises left on the island, but only 17 of them have the characteristics of the giant Galapagos tortoises.

The ancestors of George were located on other islands, probably Isabella and the surrounding islands. During the 18th century, the sailors used to throw the tortoises overboard when they were not needed for food. His is how some exemplars reached the Pinta Island. Charles Darwin made the Galapagos tortoises famous, when he arrived here in 1835 to conduct some researches that leaded to his theory of evolution.

Pinta island tortoise lonesome George

Pinta island tortoise population

female Pinta island tortoise

Pinta island tortoise extinct

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