Lonesome George Is Back In The Galapagos | Start Living Ecuador
After his passing and as a way of educating future generations, in coordination with the American Museum of Natural History, his body was preserved
Never heard it was gone in the first place? Do you know who is Lonesome George? Well, let’s start from scratch then.
Lonesome George was a giant tortoise from the Galapagos Islands; he was the last one of 1 of the 15 subspecies that inhabit the Archipelago. To be more specific he was the last giant tortoise of the Pinta Island species, hence the name Lonesome George.
He was discovered in 1971 and brought to Santa Cruz Island in 1972 to the Center for Breeding and Reproduction in Captivity. Since then several attempts were made in order to preserve the species, but though he shared his environment with other three females (from other species), all their eggs were never fertilized.
On June 2012, his care taker found him dead. It was later determined he died from natural causes at an estimated age of 90 years. With his passing now only 10 subspecies of the initially 14 described in the Galapagos exist, nowadays all 14 are considered different species.
After his passing and as a way of educating future generations, in coordination with the American Museum of Natural History, his body was preserved. After this process, which lasted almost a year, he was displayed in the Natural History Museum of New York until his return to the Galapagos this past February 2017.
Upon his arrival to Santa Cruz Island, Lonesome George was declared Ecuadorian State Heritage. His new home will be the «Symbol of Hope» Exhibition Hall. As with other heritage things, with this declaration, the Ecuadorian State seeks to protect the social and scientific memory of George, and by doing so also promote Ecuadorian identity, through what this giant tortoise symbolizes for humanity.
The chamber where Lonesome George can be visited has specific and unique characteristics in the country. It has a special glass that repels ultraviolet rays and an electric backup system in order to guarantee a constant temperature of 21 °C, a relative humidity of 55%, and the brightness equivalent to the light of 5 candles.
But beyond this sad story with an educational ending, to preserve the endemic species of the Galapagos everyone must understand that it is an ongoing work that requires research, sensibility, and control.
Keywords: Lonesome George, Galapagos, Santa Cruz, Natural History Museum New York.
Number of words: 375
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