Lonesome George may have finally reproduced!
Yea for Lonesome George! George may have finally mated after 36 years in captivity. George lives in the Galapagos Islands and is the only Pinta Island tortoise left in the world. Park rangers found a nest of eggs in George’s pen and are crossing their fingers George is the dad.
After decades of solitude, "Lonesome George" may finally save his species of Galapagos giant tortoise from extinction, his keepers said on Monday.
George, a Pinta island tortoise who has shown little interest in reproducing during 36 years in captivity, stunned his keepers by mating with one of his two female companions of a similar species of Galapagos tortoise.
Park rangers found a nest with several eggs in George's pen and placed three in incubators. It will take about four months to know whether the eggs bear George's offspring.
"Even if these three eggs are fertile and the born tortoises survive it will take several (genetic) generations to think of having a Pinta purebred ... even centuries," the park said in a statement.
The rarest animal in the world today is a giant tortoise which lives in the Galapagos Islands.
There is only one Pinta Island tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus abingdoni). It is a male known by his keepers as Lonesome George. And when he dies the Pinta tortoises will be extinct.
Once there were millions of giant tortoises. In the age of the dinosaurs they covered most of the Americas, Europe and Asia. Like other dinosaurs they began to die out when mammals evolved and they were neither clever enough nor fast enough to compete for food.
George is estimated to be 60-90 years of age, and is in good health. A prolonged effort to exterminate goats introduced to George's island is now complete and the vegetation of the island is starting to return to what it once was.