Galapagos Islands

The Lonesome George

Some of the most outstanding things in the Galapagos Islands are its unique landscapes and the fact that this is where Charles Darwin developed his theory of natural selection. However, the most impressive characteristic of them all is the variety of animals that live there. There are a lot of different species and about 30 percent of them are endemic, including their giant tortoises. These islands are filled with wildlife, so keep reading to know more about one of the most extraordinary animal of the Galapagos, the Lonesome George.

What makes Lonesome George so special?

The Lonesome George was a giant turtle of the subspecies Chelonoidis Nigra Abingdoni, which began attracting eyes from all over the world. The attention he received was due to the fact that he was the last individual of his ancient lineage. This spectacular endemic animal of the Pinta Island was discovered in 1972 by a pair of biologists when it was already believed that it was a disappeared sub specie. The initial joy of such a discovery soon went dark when it was proven that there were no other individuals like him on the island, not even a female, so it was impossible to preserve the specie.

Lonesome George is dead

It is common to hear Galapagueños expressing affection about George, the last known survivor of the Pinta tortoise. George was considered one of the rarest creature in the world. Unfortunately, despite the multiple attempts of its species’ reproduction, in June 24th, 2012 Lonesome George was found dead in his corral at the Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Center in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, by members of the Galapagos National Park Service. Lonesome George was in relatively good health and his age was estimated to be over 100 years old at the time of his death. The centenarian tortoise was a “symbol of hope” for Ecuador, but also for the world. He was an icon that reminded us of our responsibility to be active in the conservation of endangered species around the world.

Lonesome George is everywhere


His loss has been felt across the world because it signaled the extinction of the Pinta tortoise species. This is in turn has greatly affected the inhabitants of the island and the keepers of this majestic unforgettable turtle. More than its giant size, Lonesome George is a loved turtle by the inhabitants of the islands and for all the culture created around it. In the Galapagos you can observe allegorical ads in the streets, shops and brands with his name, accessories, clothing, crafts, souvenirs and more.

The New “Symbol of Hope”: The Lonesome George Exhibit Room

Special measures were taken to preserve the body of Lonesome George within the new exhibition. The room “Symbol of Hope” was built from a metal structure and then covered by metal panels and other materials that help maintain the room in very specific conditions to ensure the preservation of this beloved tortoise. A special glass was installed to reflect the ultraviolet rays to prevent the remains of George from being exposed to sunlight. The room also has its own electrical system to maintain the room at exactly 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius degrees), with specific humidity and light. Finally, the room has laboratory for periodic maintenance of the giant tortoise.

If you are planning to visit the Galapagos to see this majestic tortoise stay at Ikala Galapagos Hotel. Here you will find the very best accommodation with luxury and comfort. It is also only a 10-minute walk to the east along the Avenida Charles Darwin, which will get you to the famous Charles Darwin Station and to the Galapagos M. Cifuentes Visitor Center. Here you can now observe the embalmed body of Lonesome George. So what are you waiting for? Embark yourself in adventure to the Galapagos Islands and let us host you! Reserve your room here.