Lonesome George Might Be a Daddy Yet

A giant tortoise (not Lonesome George) in the Galapagos Islands.
A giant tortoise (not Lonesome George) at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands.

Lonesome George, the Galapagos Island’s and world’s most famous giant tortoise may finally become a daddy, keeping the Pinta Island tortoise species alive.  Metropolitan Touring reports that eggs have been found in the nests in the corral he shares with his two female companions from Isabela Island.

Lonesome George isn’t really so lonesome. He has had female companionship in his pen at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre “Fausto Llerena” at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands for decades.  George is known as “lonesome” because he is the only surviving individual of the Pinta Island tortoise species, the last individual of a nearly extinct species.

This is the third time since July 2008 that eggs have been found in his enclosure. Unfortunately, each previous time the eggs have been found to be infertile, and George has remained alone as the world’s only La Pinta tortoise.

Hopes are high this time that within the next four months, descendants of the world’s most famous tortoise will finally be hatched, extending his genetic line.

George was discovered accidentally in the early 70s by a snail expert doing other research.  He was taken to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz Island, where he still lives today, sharing his corral with two females from Wolf Volcano from Isabela Island, in an attempt to save his genotype.

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