“Slow and steady wins the race” this quote has become a very known and famous quote we use in our everyday life which was related to the story “The Hare and the Tortoise”. We to relate to tortoise as a slow moving creature and love it for its hard shell and its majestic style. Tortoises are a delight to watch especially when it tries to hide itself behind its rock shell. We do find it in many parts of the world, and there are so many different varieties of these species which many of us are not even aware of. They are harmless and absolutely adorable. Sad to say these beautiful creatures are slowly dwindling.
We all know about the Pinta Island and the giant Pinta Tortoise also known as the Abingdon islands giant tortoises which are believed to date back some 10 million years. Shocking to know that due to illegal hunting for the meat by whalers, seal hunters, sailors and pirates of the seas who found them as an easy hunt, these giant tortoises started reducing in number and the 19th century almost declared them as extinct.Soon after the hunting ceased animals like goats were introduced to the area which was once upon a time at home for these tortoises. The vegetation, herbs and grass which were fed to the tortoise for their survival was affected and started reducing. Slowly and naturally these creatures lost their natural habitat.
As all facts were just getting in place that these species of tortoises are already extinct, the 20th century brought in good news that one of its kind is still alive and in 1971 the iconic Lonesome George as he was fondly called was discovered and he became the lone survivor. In the early 19th century his species have helped Charles Darwin formulate the theory of evolution.
About our Lonesome George
Living a life of seclusion he was brought to the safe, secure yet isolated care at the Galapagos National Park in Puerto Avora, Santa Cruz Island. This majestic 200 pound, five foot long reptile was almost in the prime of his life.
He became an iconic Mascot at the Galapagos Park. The next big task of the conservative department at the Charles Darwin Research Station was to do something and all efforts went in to increase their numbers by allowing him to mate with two other female tortoises of the closest subspecies as our little hero was getting old. But he failed to procreate and these efforts seem to be in vain. Eggs were produced but none hatched and so nothing could be done about it. George never found his soul mate of the same species and remained lonesome till the end.
The fact that the lone survivor and representative of this species the very old Lonesome George is no more. George died on 24th June 2012 of heart failure due to old age and an autopsy will be performed to know the actual cause of death. They normally have a very long life and live for around 200 years and so it was surprising to see that George died when he was 100.
This also makes it obvious that the rarest animal on earth is extinct due to human cruelty and on how thoughtless actions by human have a grave impact on nature. It’s sad to know that the subspecies of the Geochelone nigra abingdoni are over but he has left his legacy and officials have begun to work on the restoration of the natural Habitats at Galapagos.