CNH Tours - Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours Galapagos
Saturday January 22, 2011
Lonesome George gets 2 new mates
Everybody has heard of Lonesome George, the last surviving giant tortoise of his kind, found on Pinta Island over 25 years ago. Despite many efforts, no other Pinta island tortoise has ever been found. And George is not getting any younger. Efforts to have him mate with the most tortoises previously thought to be the most closely related species of Galapagos giant tortoise have not amounted to much - he has been sharing his pen with the 2 females since 1991 - and not one little tortoise has come of it.
So this week, the Park has shuffled things around a little. It has removed those females and replaced them with two fresh ones from Española island. Recent studies carried out at Yale university demonstrated that Española island tortoises are in fact the most closely related to Pinta island tortoises - thus increasing the likelihood of successful reproduction.
Most people visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station will take the walk through the tortoise pens and should chance upon Lonesome George in his pen. He's a bit shy - and CNH Tours admits to having actually very rarely seen him, despite having lived at the Charles Darwin Research Station, within a stone's throw of his pen, for 2 full years. George seems to prefer to stay out of site, behind bushes, or around the corner of his pen. If you go, good luck!