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Why is Lonesome George so lonely? Animation telling the story of Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island tortoise in existence. Grandad Charlie, an elderly tortoise, takes his grandson Sam to visit Lonesome George. Lonesome George tells Sam a story to explain why he is lonely. Once there were many tortoises on the island, but then sailing ships arrived. The sailors and settlers needed food. Some of them caught and ate the tortoises. The ships also brought goats which ate the plants, so there was not enough food left for the tortoises to eat. The ships brought dogs, some of which also ate the tortoises, and the ship's rats fed on tortoise eggs. Before long almost every tortoise had gone and the island was changed forever. Fewer and fewer tortoises had babies, until only George was left. George tells Sam that when he dies, tortoises like him will become extinct. NOTE: Lonesome George died in 2012. This clip was factually accurate when originally broadcast.
First broadcast:
24 March 2009

Classroom Ideas

Could be used to introduce evolution and inheritance. You could ask the children to think about why the visiting tortoises will continue to exist and why George is 'lonesome'. It could also be used when learning about environmental issues and the impact of humans on nature. Invite the children to make a list of the Pinta Island tortoise’s natural enemies as shown in the clip and rank them by dangerousness. Do the children know about other animals or plants which became extinct or are endangered?