After 5 years of residing in New York for investigation and exhibition in the American Museum of Natural History, Lonesome George has made his return home to the Galapagos Islands.
Following the death of the only remaining Pinta tortoise of his species, his body was sent to New York for investigation and exhibition. Lonesome George returned home on the 17th of February. He now remains at the research station on Santa Cruz. The Galapagos National Park celebrates his homecoming by opening ‘La Ruta de la Tortuga’ exhibition at the Fausto Llerena Breeding center on Santa Cruz. Visitors of the Galapagos have the chance to view his remains and to learn more about the history of his extinct species.
It is said that the extinction of the species is a result of sailors and whalers eating tortoises during their travels. After months of sailing and only eating rusks and beef, it was about time for some variation of food and the tortoise was a very easy target due to its slow appearance and motion. This led to a fierce population diminishment of thousands of tortoises and extinction of the species from several islands. It is believed that the Pinta tortoise was one of these.
The history of his life goes as follows:
In 1971, a snail biologist discovered a unique species of a tortoise living on the Galapagos. A year later, the animal was captured by the natural protectors of the National Park of the Galapagos. He was moved to Santa Cruz where the biologists hoped he would mate with other female tortoises but that failed to happen. The celibate animal lived for 40 years in the national park`, unwilling to mate with other tortoises. Biologists discovered that tortoises similar to the Pinta-tortoise lived on another island but before they could bring these to Lonesome George he died. He was brought to New York for a taxidermy and after 5 years he has finally returned to the Galapagos, his home.
There have been going on some speculations from scientists who believe there is a possibility to bring Lonesome George and other extinct subspecies of the tortoises back to life by means of certain pioneering methods to revive the extinct species. Such thing has so far known in history never been attempted before. It may sound strange, but the possibility is there restore the species up to a DNA of 95% similar to the one from Lonesome George. Scientists keep on finding new unique types of animals at the Galapagos and believe that biological science could prove that there are new species of which we didn’t know about the existence.
It is said that centuries ago, sailors captured many tortoises and eventually threw them over board. Scientists now found out that the tortoises from the sea share DNA of the ancient Pinta tortoise, the same as Lonesome George, and the Floreana tortoise. Eventually, these tortoises were brought back to where they belong, to the Isla Isabela. For this reason, the scientists don’t lose hope in finding tortoises with pure 100% Pinta tortoise DNA.