Photo: Lonesome George
Meet 100 year old Lonesome George, the giant Ecuadorean tortoise, who has been looking for a partner for half a century!
Despite not having spent a single day by himself in the last 40 years, George seems to have problems with commitment, or super high standards; every female his caregivers bring gets rejected by the enormous reptile, whose taste in tortoises apparently is limited to Pinta females.
Problem is, there are no Pinta females anywhere.
“We’re always sending out letters to see if there might be one out there, somewhere,” said Fausto Llerena, Lonesome George’s main caretaker. “But all the searches have been in vain.”
Since George was discovered in 1971, on Ecuador’s Pinta island, several scientists, park rangers and zoo officials have paraded tortoises of similar species in front of the centennial George to no avail.
The island’s vegetation had been devastated by feral goats, dogs and pigs brought by foreigners, who prayed on the tortoise egges, reducing the population to a single individual. George.
In 1991, George’s caretakers decided to place him with female tortoises from Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island. Two laid eggs, but none hatched. It was later determined that the Española tortoises were genetically closer to the Pinta, and in January, two Española females replaced the ones from Isabela Island.
“He’s getting to know them,” Llerena said. “Lately he seems more animated.”
We certainly hope he is able to get out of his shell a bit, and get a girlfriend!