Learning About Lonesome George
“Lonesome George is NOT gay. He is definitely NOT gay!” Our guide at the Charles Darwin Research Station seemed angered by the question. He went on to say “We once saw him copulating with a female tortoise“.
Lonesome George (Solitario Jorge in Spanish) is the rarest creature on earth, the last Pinta Island tortoise, a sub-specie of the Galapagos tortoise. He is estimated to be at least 60 – 90 years old. He is the station’s most famous resident and is an internationally recognized symbol for conservation in The Galapagos Islands.
Sadly Lonesome George is the last of his kind. Yet he’s anything but lonesome, as he’s viewed by adoring fans each and every day and is also penned with two female mates. Despite his “menage-a-trois” situation, he’s never been able to successfully produce offspring.
At the time of my visit in May 2007, rumors abounded online that Lonesome George was gay. He had never been known to participate in mating rituals with fellow female tortoises, let alone spawn mini versions of himself.
When mention of George’s possible sexual orientation was made, our guide went on a rant to advise us that Lonesome George did indeed love females. In fact, George has since mated twice (in 2008 and again in 2009) but none of the eggs were found to be viable.
The Charles Darwin Research Station
Is seeing Lonesome George with your own eyes on your travel bucket list? Well, if you’re ever lucky enough to be able to do so, you can see him in the flesh (or in his case … shell) at the Charles Darwin Research Station located on Santa Clara Island. The station is run by The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the proper preservation of the Galapagos Islands.
Lonesome George was rescued in 1971 from Pinta Island and would have died had this not happened. Many things threaten the delicate ecological balance of the Galapagos and in George’s case it was feral goats. These goats destroyed the island’s vegetation that George and his kind relied on for sustenance. Fortunately efforts are being made to remedy this situation.
The station is home to a very successful tortoise breeding program which began in 1965. Thanks to the hard work of the scientists and other staff who run the program, many tortoises have been successfully bred and eventually released into the wild.
Treat Yourself To Tortoise Photos
Two giant tortoises engaged in the act of mating.
This is one coupling that won’t be successful. Both tortoises are male! Lonesome George is not gay, but one of these tortoises clearly likes males.
A couple of tortoises just hanging out.
My favorite shot.
Baby tortoises, part of the station’s successful breeding program.
OMG. It’s Lonesome George.
My old friend, Lonesome George. Such an extraordinary being. I hope one day that he’ll be able to make babies!
Enjoy Some Videos
Check out the hungry tortoise.
Or how about the tortoise humping action? Hear the grunts.