Photo: Preservation of Ecuador's Late Giant Tortoise, Lonesome George, Begins
Ecuador’s Lonesome George, the last giant Galapagos tortoise who died last year, was defrosted last week to begin the preservation process.
Being embalmed in the U.S., Lonesome George will be returned to Ecuador to be exhibited in the Galapagos archipelago. He was the last of his subspecies.
After George’s death on June 24, 2012, the body was preserved in freezers at 50 C below zero (58 F below zero) with very special care taken to keep its tissues from deteriorating.
The Galapagos Islands are located about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west of the coast of continental Ecuador and were declared a World Natural Heritage Site in 1978.
Some 95 percent of the territory’s 8,000 sq. kilometers (a little over 3,000 sq. miles) constitutes a protected area that is home to more than 50 species of animals and birds found nowhere else on the planet.
Before he arrives at his permanent home at the Galapagos Islands research station, Lonesome George will be on display in New York’s American Museum of Natural History.