The giant tortoise Lonesome George, who was believed to be the last of his species, died on Sunday at the Galapagos National Park
His age was not known exactly but he was generally believed to be about 100, and he had been expected to live for many more decades.
Lonesome George was found in 1972 and there have been many attempts to find him a mate to keep the species alive.
Various mates had been provided for Lonesome George after he was found in 1972 in what proved unsuccessful attempts to keep his subspecies alive.
Before sailors first came across the archipelago in the 1850s , tens of thousands of giant tortoises roamed the Galapagos. The slow moving tortoises can live for more than 200 years and are very large, weighing up to 300kg. Sailors and pirates used to cram them in the holds of their ships to have a dependable supply of meat during long journeys.
And then to help matters, as Europeans so often did, the sailors introduced goats, cattles and donkeys which competed for grazing and the dogs and pigs ate the reptiles eggs.
But a recovery program run by the Galapagos National park and the Charles Darwin Foundation has helped to turn that around for some other species of giant tortoises increasing the overall population from 3,000 in 1974 to 20,000 today. But nothing , it seems, could save this species.
First attempts to place George with females proved that George was more interested in food . But one attempt resulted in some eggs in 2007 and then sadly none of the eggs hatched.
George’s cause is very well known. It must have been tough to have the future of your species resting on your back ( or elsewhere ).