Some of our contributors, like Reyna and Roberto, are permanent residents of the Galapagos Islands; some like Seth, are currently stationed there; others among us have been there and had a brief encounter with George. The news of his demise is not merely sad, for all of them, all of us; it sends a bit of a chill, for reasons evident when you read the history of his species. Yet, George made an enormous contribution to awareness of the need for conservation and habitat renewal. He was a celebrity, of sorts, working (whether he liked the gig or not, we shall never know) on behalf of endangered species around the world. Thank you, George. Click the image above for the notice in The Guardian:
The last known representative of the giant Galápagos tortoise subspecies Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni had every reason to shun humanity, however. His relatives were exterminated for food or oil by whalers and seal hunters in the 19th century, and his habitat on Pinta was devastated by escaped goats. George possibly has relations on neighbouring Isabela Island, but it is more likely his whole subspecies is now extinct – the end of what is probably a 10m-year-old line.