The Pinta Island tortoise

A tortoise known as “Lonesome George” is the sole survivor of the Pinta Island tortoise species. George is considered one of the rarest animals in the world. The Pinta tortoise species was considered to be extinct until 1971, when a lone tortoise was discovered, hence the name “Lonesome George.” When George dies, the Pinta Island tortoise species will become extinct.

In the spring of this year, 39 giant tortoises were released onto Pinta Island, which is one of the Galapagos Islands. The Charles Darwin Research Station has been attempting to locate a female tortoise since George was discovered. A $10,000 reward has been offered by many zoos to anyone who finds one. With the 39 giant tortoises released onto the island, at least maybe the Pinta Island tortoise known as George won’t be so lonely anymore.

Once there were millions of these giant tortoises in America, Europe, and Asia. As mammals evolved, they died out along with the dinosaurs. The tortoises were simply not smart or fast enough to complete successfully for food. Field assistants will monitor the Pinta Island tortoise brood while on the island for a ten week period. It is the first time tortoises have lived on the island in almost 40 years, and George will be glad to have the company.


  1. Galapagos says:

    When Lonesome George was discovered on Pinta Island he was the last remaining tortoise on an island where tortoises were thought to have been extinct. Since then the national park and scientists have been working to find a way to keep his species from extinction. For several years George has been in a pen at the Charles Darwin Research Station that he shares with two female tortoises that were determined to be the most similar to the Pinta species. A few years ago these females laid eggs however to everyones disappointment no tortoises were born. More recently a DNA study of Galapagos Tortoises worldwide has discovered a 2nd Pinta Tortoise living at the Prauge Zoo – Tony. Additionally they have found several 1/2 blood Pinta Tortoises living on the Wolf Volcano. These tortoises are from a Wolf father and Pinta mother offering hope that a full blood Pinta female may be found. For more information please see

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