Lonesome George will soon go on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The giant Galapagos Island Tortoise passed away last June at 100 and something years old. He was the last surviving member of the Pinta Island subspecies of giant tortoises.
Environmentalist tried for years to find Lonesome George a mate but, as his name implies, George passed away without spawning a new generation of Pinta Island turtles.
Linda Cayot, the science adviser to the Galápagos Conservancy, told National Geographic: “What George is as a symbol shouldn’t be forgotten … And the best way of doing that is having him there in front of everyone.”
The NY Times reports that Lonesome George has been in a deep freeze since his death last June. The turtle was defrosted this week by taxidermist George Dante and his team at the American Museum of Natural History.
Dante said: “Doing taxidermy on a tortoise is much like working on an elephant … There’s no fur, so we have to work to preserve the skin, maintaining its natural color and texture as much as possible, sculpting the wrinkles so they are anatomically accurate. There’s very little room for error.”
The tortoise will go on display in New York before being shipped back to the Galapagos Islands where he will be put on display in the research center.
Here’s a video about Lonesome George from the BBC.
Chris Raxworthy, the museum’s curator of herpetology, said that the taxidermists will use a pose that will accentuate some of George’s more unique features.
Raxworth said: “(We want) to be accurate and to capture the spirit of George. We want to demonstrate the neat features he had. A long neck and unique shell morphology that let him stretch way up, an adaptation that would have helped him to reach food on a dry island like Pinta.”
[Image Via Wiki]