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September 15, 2015
A panel presentation will be hosted by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on September 18, 2014 to launch an exhibit honoring Lonesome George, the last known tortoise of his species from Pinta Island, Galapagos.
Lonesome George became an international symbol of ever-increasing extinctions when he died of natural causes in June 2012. Following the tortoise’s death, Galapagos Conservancy took on the complicated task of coordinating and funding the international journey to bring Lonesome George’s body to the Museum, where a team of master taxidermists have been working for more than a year to preserve him for posterity. This panel presentation marks the climactic unveiling of a global conservation icon.
The panel will feature Galapagos Conservancy’s President Johannah Barry and Science Advisor Dr. Linda Cayot, Dr. James Gibbs of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Dr. Arturo Izurieta, Director of the Galapagos National Park. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Eleanor Sterling, Chief Conservation Scientist of the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. Lonesome George will be on display following the discussion, and the exhibit will be open to the public beginning September 19, 2014 through January 4, 2015.
Lonesome George will be returned to Ecuador in 2015, and a bronze replica will be created for a new visitor center in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz in Galapagos. The center will be dedicated to the memory of Lonesome George and will tell the important story of tortoise conservation in Galapagos. The plaque overlooking George’s old corral proclaims, “We promise to tell your story and to share your conservation message.”
“George’s story has played an important and inspirational role in the development of the next steps in tortoise conservation throughout the archipelago,” commented Dr. Linda Cayot, Galapagos Conservancy’s Science Advisor who worked with Lonesome George for more than a decade. “We look forward to a new and important chapter in biodiversity protection.”