tortsandturts:

chalkandwater:

Lonesome George (c. 1912 – June 24, 2012) was the last Pinta Island Tortoise in existence. His subspecies was wiped out by invasive feral goats who devastated the native vegetation, leaving nothing for the tortoises to feed on. Found to be the only survivor of his kind, he was relocated from his native island in 1971 to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island where he stayed until he died of old age in 2012.

From David Attenborough’s encounter with Lonesome George in Life in Cold Blood.

Always worth a reblog.

Agreed. Always reblog. 

Lonesome George. Legend. 

tortsandturts:

chalkandwater:

Lonesome George (c. 1912 – June 24, 2012) was the last Pinta Island Tortoise in existence. His subspecies was wiped out by invasive feral goats who devastated the native vegetation, leaving nothing for the tortoises to feed on. Found to be the only survivor of his kind, he was relocated from his native island in 1971 to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island where he stayed until he died of old age in 2012.

From David Attenborough’s encounter with Lonesome George in Life in Cold Blood.

Always worth a reblog.

Agreed. Always reblog. 

Lonesome George. Legend. 

tortsandturts:

chalkandwater:

Lonesome George (c. 1912 – June 24, 2012) was the last Pinta Island Tortoise in existence. His subspecies was wiped out by invasive feral goats who devastated the native vegetation, leaving nothing for the tortoises to feed on. Found to be the only survivor of his kind, he was relocated from his native island in 1971 to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island where he stayed until he died of old age in 2012.

From David Attenborough’s encounter with Lonesome George in Life in Cold Blood.

Always worth a reblog.

Agreed. Always reblog. 

Lonesome George. Legend. 

tortsandturts:

chalkandwater:

Lonesome George (c. 1912 – June 24, 2012) was the last Pinta Island Tortoise in existence. His subspecies was wiped out by invasive feral goats who devastated the native vegetation, leaving nothing for the tortoises to feed on. Found to be the only survivor of his kind, he was relocated from his native island in 1971 to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island where he stayed until he died of old age in 2012.

From David Attenborough’s encounter with Lonesome George in Life in Cold Blood.

Always worth a reblog.

Agreed. Always reblog. 

Lonesome George. Legend. 

tortsandturts:

chalkandwater:

Lonesome George (c. 1912 – June 24, 2012) was the last Pinta Island Tortoise in existence. His subspecies was wiped out by invasive feral goats who devastated the native vegetation, leaving nothing for the tortoises to feed on. Found to be the only survivor of his kind, he was relocated from his native island in 1971 to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island where he stayed until he died of old age in 2012.

From David Attenborough’s encounter with Lonesome George in Life in Cold Blood.

Always worth a reblog.

Agreed. Always reblog. 

Lonesome George. Legend. 

Lonesome George’s species might be living on in the blood of other galapagos tortoises! 

Researchers from Yale University recently trekked to the northern tip of Isabella Island, the largest of the Galápagos, and collected DNA from more than 1,600 giant tortoises. The genetic samples showed that 17 of these tortoises were hybrids that had a parent like Lonesome Georgefrom the subspecies Chelonoidis abingdoni.

What’s more, five of those hybrids were juveniles, suggesting purebred C. abingdoni tortoises may still be roaming a remote part of the island.

“Our goal is to go back this spring to look for surviving individuals of this species and to collect hybrids,” Yale ecology researcher Gisella Caccone said in a statement. “We hope that with a selective breeding program, we can reintroduce this tortoise species to its native home.”

But even if examples of C. abingdoni are found on Isabella Island, how did they get there? Lonesome George’s species is native to Pinta Island, 37 miles across the seas from the Volcano Wolf area on Isabella Island where the hybrid samples were collected.

These tortoises are massive, reaching nearly 900 pounds (408 kilograms) and almost 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length, and the researchers don’t believe ocean currents carried them between the islands. The team does suspect, however, that 19th century sailors did.

Volcano Wolf is nearby Banks Bay, where naval officers and whalers marooned giant tortoises picked up from other islands after they were no longer needed for food. Researchers have previously found other hybrid turtles in the region with genetic ancestry of another tortoise, C. elephantopus, which was thought to be lost. This species was native to Floreana Island, where it was hunted to extinction some 150 years ago. But the evidence suggests several members must have been brought to Isabella Island, where they mated with C. becki tortoises.

The new findings appear in the journal Biological Conservation.

Lonesome George’s species might be living on in the blood of other galapagos tortoises! 

Researchers from Yale University recently trekked to the northern tip of Isabella Island, the largest of the Galápagos, and collected DNA from more than 1,600 giant tortoises. The genetic samples showed that 17 of these tortoises were hybrids that had a parent like Lonesome Georgefrom the subspecies Chelonoidis abingdoni.

What’s more, five of those hybrids were juveniles, suggesting purebred C. abingdoni tortoises may still be roaming a remote part of the island.

“Our goal is to go back this spring to look for surviving individuals of this species and to collect hybrids,” Yale ecology researcher Gisella Caccone said in a statement. “We hope that with a selective breeding program, we can reintroduce this tortoise species to its native home.”

But even if examples of C. abingdoni are found on Isabella Island, how did they get there? Lonesome George’s species is native to Pinta Island, 37 miles across the seas from the Volcano Wolf area on Isabella Island where the hybrid samples were collected.

These tortoises are massive, reaching nearly 900 pounds (408 kilograms) and almost 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length, and the researchers don’t believe ocean currents carried them between the islands. The team does suspect, however, that 19th century sailors did.

Volcano Wolf is nearby Banks Bay, where naval officers and whalers marooned giant tortoises picked up from other islands after they were no longer needed for food. Researchers have previously found other hybrid turtles in the region with genetic ancestry of another tortoise, C. elephantopus, which was thought to be lost. This species was native to Floreana Island, where it was hunted to extinction some 150 years ago. But the evidence suggests several members must have been brought to Isabella Island, where they mated with C. becki tortoises.

The new findings appear in the journal Biological Conservation.

I know we’ve focused a lot on Lonesome George lately, but this article is just so beautifully written I had to post it. We’ve been on a bit of a personal Hiatus but we’ll be back in a few days with answers to questions, lots of pictures of Zoya, and some more from our trip to the west coast. Stay Tuned! 

Centenarian Lonesome George was the last of the La Pinta Galapagos species, a giant tortoise from a tiny island off Ecuador, where his brethren succumbed long ago. Survival for struggling chelonian populations is always dicey because predators pick off most eggs and young, and 15 to 20 years are required to become adults: The replenishment rate is dismally low.

If the public were to understand only one fact about turtles and tortoises, I would like it to be that these animals are not easily replaced once they are dwindling or gone. Lonesome George hung on, an ambassador against extinction. His life had value — even though he couldn’t replicate within a La Pinta gene pool.

Tortoise lovers can’t fathom the motive behind the recent attack and killing of two gopher tortoises at Tosohatchee. It takes a full-blown bully and small brain to torture so benign and (against man) helpless an animal.

A bright result from both Lonesome George’s passing and this Florida crime would be for mainstream folk to renew their respect for life forms different from themselves, and to honor the biological treasury that still surrounds and brings joy to us, even when we forget it’s there. George proves extinction isn’t just an abstract slogan, but real peril for many biota within a few generations.

In “The Way to Rainy Mountain,” author N. Scott Momaday writes:

“Tortoises crawl about on red earth, going nowhere in the plenty of time.” To a tortoise, “nowhere” is always “somewhere” — even if we don’t always know where that is. That’s half its charm.

Hug a tortoise today. (Figuratively, of course!)

Rebecca Eagan of Winter Park is a wildlife conservationist.

I know we’ve focused a lot on Lonesome George lately, but this article is just so beautifully written I had to post it. We’ve been on a bit of a personal Hiatus but we’ll be back in a few days with answers to questions, lots of pictures of Zoya, and some more from our trip to the west coast. Stay Tuned! 

Centenarian Lonesome George was the last of the La Pinta Galapagos species, a giant tortoise from a tiny island off Ecuador, where his brethren succumbed long ago. Survival for struggling chelonian populations is always dicey because predators pick off most eggs and young, and 15 to 20 years are required to become adults: The replenishment rate is dismally low.

If the public were to understand only one fact about turtles and tortoises, I would like it to be that these animals are not easily replaced once they are dwindling or gone. Lonesome George hung on, an ambassador against extinction. His life had value — even though he couldn’t replicate within a La Pinta gene pool.

Tortoise lovers can’t fathom the motive behind the recent attack and killing of two gopher tortoises at Tosohatchee. It takes a full-blown bully and small brain to torture so benign and (against man) helpless an animal.

A bright result from both Lonesome George’s passing and this Florida crime would be for mainstream folk to renew their respect for life forms different from themselves, and to honor the biological treasury that still surrounds and brings joy to us, even when we forget it’s there. George proves extinction isn’t just an abstract slogan, but real peril for many biota within a few generations.

In “The Way to Rainy Mountain,” author N. Scott Momaday writes:

“Tortoises crawl about on red earth, going nowhere in the plenty of time.” To a tortoise, “nowhere” is always “somewhere” — even if we don’t always know where that is. That’s half its charm.

Hug a tortoise today. (Figuratively, of course!)

Rebecca Eagan of Winter Park is a wildlife conservationist.