Lonesome George, the only remaining giant tortoise of the Pinta subspecies has died
A giant tortoise which has become the symbol of the Galapagos islands has died aged 100. "Lonesome George" was believed to be the last of the La Pinta subspecies and died of unknown causes on Sunday, the Galapagos National Park confirmed.
Lonesome George was found in 1972 and had become a symbol of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, which attracted around 180,000 visitors last year.
"This morning the park ranger in charge of looking after the tortoises found Lonesome George, his body was motionless," the head of the Galapagos National Park, Edwin Naula, said. "His life cycle came to an end."
The Park said the tortoise was found dead in his corral by his keeper of 40 years, Fausto Llerena. With his death, the Park confirmed, the Pinta tortoise subspecies has become extinct.
For many years, Lonesome George's minders tried to encourage the giant tortoise to procreate with females of a similar subspecies - but all attempts failed.
Some 20,000 giant tortoises of different subspecies still live on the Galapagos, according to Reuters.
Image: Lonesome George was the last surviving Pinta giant tortoise
Source: Wikipedia Commons