RIP Lonesome George

20120625-001939.jpgAnd so tragic news has broken – Giant tortoise Lonesome George, last of his subspecies, has died.

I first encountered George’s story in Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of the World’s Most Famous Tortoise, which is the sad story of how you go about trying to save a species that just doesn’t want to reproduce. Looks like the inevitable has finally caught up with the Pinta giant tortoise.

I guess the whole thing raises important questions – how far should conservationists invest limited funds and resources into saving species that, apparently, don’t ‘want’ to be saved? A similar argument is made for giant pandas who, while cute, have to be among the most awkward animals on Earth.

But then, maybe humans should be paying penance – after all, George’s ancestors were hunted and eaten to the edge of extinction by our ancestors. It’s not like we don’t have a bad habit of blundering in and destroying the ecological balance of everywhere we go. A hundred or so years later and it’s our fault that the sole surviving member of a particular species is an individual with the sex drive of a brick. It feels like some sort of karmic irony.

I have no conclusions. I’m just sad and apprehensive about what we’ve done to our world.

Rest in peace George.


2 thoughts on “RIP Lonesome George

    1. matthewhyde Post author

      I know, it’s incredibly sad. It’s rare that the last of a species us so readily identifiable as an individual – I think the fact that he had a name brings things home quite powerfully.


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