Giant tortoise Lonesome George to be embalmed

Picture of "Lonesome George" taken on 21 July 2008 at the Breeding Centre Fausto Llerena of the Charles Darwin station in the Galapagos' Santa Cruz Island Lonesome George was found dead in his corral by his keepers on Sunday

Related Stories

Lonesome George, the famed giant Galapagos tortoise who died on Sunday, is to be embalmed and kept for future generations, Ecuadorian officials say.

The Pinta Island tortoise, believed to be the last of his subspecies, will be put on display on Galapagos' Santa Cruz island, the environment minister said.

Minister Marcela Aguinaga said an autopsy had found that Lonesome George had died of old age.

He was estimated to have been about 100 years old.

With no offspring and no known individuals from his subspecies (Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni) left, Lonesome George became known as the rarest creature in the world.

For decades, environmentalists unsuccessfully tried to get the Pinta Island tortoise to reproduce with females from a similar subspecies on the Galapagos Islands.

He became a symbol of the Galapagos Islands, which attract some 180,000 visitors a year and whose flora and fauna helped inspire Charles Darwin's theories on evolution.

Some 20,000 giant tortoises of other subspecies still live on the Galapagos.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Latin America & Caribbean stories



  • An undated file photo posted on 27 August 2014 by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, showing IS fighters waving the group's flag from a damaged government fighter jet in Raqqa, Syria.Adapt or die?

    IS militants seem to be changing tactics after air strikes

  • signClean and tidy

    Things that could only happen in a Hong Kong protest

  • Child eating ice creamTooth top tips

    Experts on ways to encourage children to look after their teeth

  • Almaz cleaning floorAlmaz's prison

    Beaten and raped - the story of an African servant in Saudi Arabia

  • Train drawn by Jonathan Backhouse, 1825Original 'geeks'

    What hobby did this drawing start in 1825?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.