Longtime readers of our Sidebars may remember a few months back the story of the 100-year old Galapagos tortoise Lonesome George, the only chelonian to ever have his obituary in the well-known English newsmagazine, The Economist. When we left off George’s remains were in the care of the taxidermists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
At that time the plan was to return George to the Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos when they had finished their work. Since then a big brouhaha has erupted about his final resting place. The problem seems to be that George was born on Pinta Island in the archipelago but spent his final years at the Center where he was a major tourist attraction. For that reason the Pinta islanders want him back. However, Ecuadorian officials are concerned that George would be dangerously exposed to heat and humidity as Pinta lacks a climate controlled environment to display the tortoise. An option to place George in the capitol, Quito, would solve the problem of the exposure issues. But no one knows where to put him as there is no natural science museum and no funds exist to construct one. Stay tuned. We plan to stay on top of this “let’s get a home for George” story.