Galapagos Species Checklist

Chelonoidis abingdonii (Günther, 1877)

Lonesome George, Solitario Jorge, Tortuga Gigante de Pinta, Pinta Galapagos Tortoise

Lonesome George. Photo: Anthony G. Jepson.
Lonesome George. Photo: Anthony G. Jepson.

June 24th, 2012, marks the death of the last Pinta Giant Tortoise, Lonesome Goerge, and thus the final extinction of this last survivor of the species Chelonoidis abingdoni (Günther, 1877). Josehp Vagvolgyi discovered Lonesome George on December 1st, 1971, during his field work on terrestrial snails on the Island of Pinta. In the hope to prevent his extinction in the wild, Lonesome George was brought to the National Park Breeding Center in Port Ayora, on the island of Santa Cruz, where he was kept from 1973 to 2012. As part of the reproduction program in the tortoise breeding center Lonesome George first shared his corral with two females from Volcano Wolf (Isabela Island), without successful results. In 2011 the two females of Española Island replaced the Isabela Tortoises, because their genetic code was deemed more similar. Unfortunately none of these captive breeding efforts were ever successful. At the Galapagos National Park Breeding Center Fausto Llenera was the keeper of Lonesome George. Fausto’s dedication to Lonesome George is legend, without his care this last individual of the Pinta Giant Tortoises would likely not have survived that long. Unfortunately, although advised by a network of international and local CDF scientifics and technical personnel of the GNPS all attempts to save the species have now failed.










Taxon category: Accepted

Syn.: Geochelone abingdonii (Günther, 1877), Testudo abingdoniii Günther, 1877, Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii Günther, 1877, Chelonoidis nigra duncanensis Garman in Pritchard, 1996, Geochelone elephantopus abingdonii Harlan, 1827; Type specimen in BM. Le et al. (2006) demonstrate that the genus Geochelone is polyphyletic and that the Galapagos Giant Tortoises are better treated as the monophyletic genus Chelonoidis. According to Márquez et al. (2004) and Poulakakis et al. (2008) the Geochelone taxa (= Chelonoidis) from Galapagos are genetically distinct and therefore treated as species and not as subspecies of Geochelone (= Chelonoidis) nigra.of Geochelone nigra.




Distribution map of specimen collection localities or observation records for this species in our collections database.

Distribution: Restricted to Pinta Island.


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