Last week came news from the Galapagos National Park that Lonesome George — the last Pinta Island Tortoise in the world — may yet become a father. 5 perfect eggs were found in the nest of one of the two female tortoises that share a corral with ol’ George. It will be another 120-130 days before the incubation process is completed and before it is known if the eggs are viable.
Scientists at the Charles Darwin Research Station have been attempting to breed George with tortoises similar to Pinta subspecies since 1972. Last summer — over thirty-years later (giant tortoises have never been celebrated for their swiftness) — park rangers found a nest in George’s corral with 13 eggs. These eggs, unfortunately, were declared infertile. The Galapagos Conservancy reports that scientists are hopeful, but realistic; the chances are slim that this new batch of eggs will produce George’s offspring. But I’ve always been a “glass-half-full” sort of gal and will remain optimistic. Sending good-vibes your way, George!
The Galapagos Islands are celebrated throughout the world for their incredible and rare wildlife. The Islands’ land animals are dominated by reptiles, while most of the world finds mammals the predominate species. There are roughly 15,000 estimated giant tortoises in the Galapagos. Ten sub-species of giant tortoises exist in the wild. Lonesome George is the one remaining survivor of the 11th species. He resides at the Charles Darwin Research Station.