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Lonesome George, aged 100, has died

It is with great sadness that the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador confirmed the death of Lonesome George, the last giant Pinta tortoise. Found dead in his corral by his keeper of 40 years, Fausto Lleren, the cause of death is still unknown. Despite breeding with female tortoise from nearby islands, George never became a father. With George's death the Pinta tortoise is now extinct.

George was estimated to be a young male of only 100 years, his subspecies can live up to 200 years. For the past few decades there have been several attempts to mate George with females of similar species but any resulting eggs were infertile.

Lonesome George was first discovered in 1972 by a Hungarian scientist on the Island of Pinta. He was the last remaining tortoise of subspecie Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni. George become somewhat of a Galapagos Island celebrity with over 180,000 visitors travelling to the Galapagos to catch a glimpse of him every year. It is thought that the Pinta tortoise died out due to hunting by sailors and the introduction of goats onto the island in the 19th century.

Visitors can still see over 20,000 other tortoise species on the Galapagos Islands, and it is thought George's body will be embalmed and put on display in the future.