We have lost the last giant tortoise of a unique species (Geochelone Abingdon) a male called by the Galapagos National Park Lonesome George, he was found over 44 years ago in Pinta Island when an expedition was set to find survivors of this particular giant tortoises species that where assume already extinct, then during the expedition in 1972 one of the rangers Fausto Llerena found a male.
Not another single tortoise was found and the expedition returned to Santa Cruz Island with the only survivor of its species Lonesome George from that moment on, the Charles Darwin station a scientific organization created to research, study and the restoration of the fauna and flora of the archipelago began with an ambitious project the reproduction of Lonesome George, the giant was placed in corral made of volcanic rock inside the Charles Darwin Station, shortly after a female from other species originally from the volcano wolf on Isabela Island was also placed inside the same corral, after 15 years of research, study and lots of patience Lonesome George finally mated with her companion, the event was very encouraging for everyone who was involve in the project but the hope of saving a whole species was eradicated, the eggs the female had lay where never fertilized and the hatching of the eggs never came it was disappointing for the project.
They keep on trying and few other females from Española Island which were closer genetically to the iconic giant were place in the corral but they never mate till the day of its dead on June 25th 2012.
The giant was famous all over the world and every visitor that had come to Galapagos had stop by its corral to admire the last specimen of its kind, now after its dead the giant´s body will be embalmed for future generations to admire it and to remind us that we need to change our way of relating with our environment we need to start before is to late even for us just like it was for this special creature.
Lonesome George´s dead is tragic not only because a whole species had disappear is also a lesson of how fragile our world is and how our impact through centuries of abuse from mankind towards our planet and its fragile ecosystems, creatures and resources. From Pirates to whalers the giant tortoises had suffer man´s devastation and now on 2012 after almost 3 centuries from the discovery of the islands and its unique creatures we finally manage to place another species on our extinction list, this should be a wakeup call for us.