February 15, 2017
This Thursday, following several years of intensive collaboration between Galapagos Conservancy and the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD), Lonesome George will begin his journey home to the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center at the GNPD headquarters in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island — the place that served as his home for the last 40 years of his life, before his death in June of 2012 at nearly 100 years old.
Lonesome George, the iconic giant Pinta tortoise who was the last of his species, is scheduled to return to Galapagos on February 17 under strict security and technical protocols required to protect preserved specimens. His taxidermy represents the first time in 100 years that a giant Galapagos tortoise has been preserved.
George’s journey will take him from New York (US) to Guayaquil (Ecuador) and then to the Galapagos Islands. The Ministry of Environment and the GNPD have planned an inauguration ceremony for the Symbol of Hope Exhibition Hall, which will open to the public on Thursday, February 23. The new exhibit site was designed and constructed to meet the strict technical standards required to assure that Lonesome George remains preserved for hundreds of years.
Lonesome George symbolizes the conservation efforts carried out by the Ecuadorian government to protect species and their ecosystems, in order to ensure that the fate of Lonesome George is not repeated for other tortoise species in Galapagos. For those living in the Islands, the last giant Pinta tortoise is a powerful symbol of their home and important source of pride throughout the Archipelago.
Lonesome George photo courtesy of Tim Saxe.