This past weekend, I got to meet Lonesome George!
Well, kind of. Lonesome George was the last of his kind, the Pinta Island tortoise in the Galapagos Islands (Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii). Feral goats introduced by humans devastated the vegetation on Pinta Island and left the tortoises nothing to eat. In 1971, Lonesome George was relocated to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. He died of old age on June 24, 2012.
After extensive sessions with expert taxidermists, Lonesome George is on display at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC until January 4. I managed to make it over to the museum on Sunday and meet the most famous tortoise on the planet.
Lonesome George was smaller than I expected. He seemed bigger in the photos I’ve seen of him stomping around his domain. Either it was his gigantic personality, or taxidermy causes shrinkage.
Bonus tortles in the subway!
Rest in peace, Lonesome George.