Monday, July 27, 2009

This Is Great News!

Last week, keepers at the Charles Darwin Research Center at Galapagos National Park found unhatched eggs in the bachelor pen of Lonesome George. Lonesome George is the last remaining giant tortoise of his kind and his keepers believe that he is 90 years old. That may sound old, but George is in his sexual prime.

George is the last known Pinta Island tortoise and he's shown little interest in reproducing over the years. He has been in captivity for the past 36 years after conservationists discovered him on Pinta Island. Scientists have been trying to get George to mate since 1993, when they introduced two female tortoises of a different subspecies into his pen. He mated last year, much to the surprise of his keepers, but the eggs laid by one of his female companions turned out to be infertile.

Mom and Dad visited George three years ago and Mom told me that George is a superstar. There were so many people around George's pen taking pictures it was like he had his own paparazzi. Visiting George and the other tortoises at both the Charles Darwin Research Center and in the wild was a highlight of their trip. They actually saw tortoises in the wild mating. They took a video of it and Mom tells me that it sounded like cows mooing.

When keepers found the five eggs in George's pen, then were in perfect condition. They were taken and placed in an incubator where they will be incubated for 120 days to find out whether they are fertile. Keep your fingers and paws crossed that the eggs are fertile and that George will be a daddy.

Galapagos tortoises were among the species Charles Darwin observed to formulate his theory of evolution in the 19th century. They were hunted for their meat by sailors and fishermen almost to the point of extinction, while their habitat has been eaten away by goats introduced from the mainland. There are still some 20,000 giant tortoises that still live on the Galapagos and they are fully protected from poachers.

I cannot visit Lonesome George because they don't allow dogs at the Charles Darwin Research Center, but if you have the opportunity to visit him please do. Mom is going back to see him at the first chance she gets (don't tell Dad) and she hopes that she will get to meet his children. Even if George never has children, conservationists are working to ensure that all the other subspecies of Galapagos tortoises never go extinct.

6 comments:

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi stubby!

oh we are rooting for george to be a dad!

please keep us posted! we a wonderful story!

we love that your mom and dad got to meet him!

Pearl said...

YAY! This IS great news, Stubby!!! I am crossing my paws for good and fertile eggs!!!!

Salinger The Pug said...

Well...I guess this is good news.

That George has mom totally skeeved out...you KNOW how she feels about those turtles!!!!!!!!! She's convinced he's coming to get her with that crazy look on his face!

Love,
Salinger

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! Thanks for rooting for George. I will keep you posted on the eggs but in the meantime, keep your fingers and paws crossed!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hey Pearly Poo! Thanks for crossing your paws. Those eggs just have to be fertile because George is too special to be the last of his kind. Go George go!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Salinger dude - this IS good news. I know that your mom is skeeved about turtles, but George is so cool. He may look crazy but he wouldn't never even hurt a fly.

Stubby xoxo