VIDEO: Pinta Island Tortoise Lonesome George Arrives at AMNH in NYC
Lonesome George, the 100-year-old (estimated) Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdoni)-the last of his kind-who died in June 2012, will be preserved for posterity by the same expert taxidermy and conservation team that worked on the acclaimed renovation of the Jill and Lewis Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History. The world-famous giant tortoise, who continues to be an icon for conservation in Ecuador's Galápagos Islands, will be on display at the Museum for a limited time starting this winter. Afterwards, Lonesome George will be returned to the Galápagos. Click below to learn more about Loneseome George!
Lonesome George, weighing 200 pounds and measuring 5 feet long, was probably the most famous and most photographed giant tortoise in the world. He died at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island in June 2012. Despite efforts to provide him with a mate, George never successfully reproduced and remained the last known member of his subspecies.
The Museum's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation works closely with the Galápagos National Park Service, the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, and the Galápagos Conservancy to understand the current role of tortoises in the larger ecosystem and to help conserve these magnificent animals. The four organizations are working together to prepare Lonesome George's body and spread awareness of the importance of biodiversity conservation.
"We are honored to receive this incredibly important specimen and ultimately, put it on display for the public," said Michael J. Novacek, senior vice president and provost of science at the American Museum of Natural History. "Our team of experts, using preservation and taxidermy techniques that have earned this institution recognition throughout the world, will ensure the legacy of Lonesome George Lives on and is appreciated by future generations."
"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Galápagos National Park Service, SUNY ESF, and Galápagos Conservancy team to preserve such an important icon for the global conservation movement," said Eleanor Sterling, director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History. "Together we will bring Lonesome George, both in his physical presence and message, before the international public in ways we hope have a lasting impact."