I knew George when he lived. It may have been in the year 2009 or in 2010, I met him at the Galapagos. He must have been more than 100 years at then.
The giant tortoise Lonely George / George Solitario was the very, very last of its kind. And he was it the last 40 years of his life.
He was the front figure for the Galapagos Islands National Park, the same place where Charles Darwin reportedly observed so many unique arts that inspired his theory of evolution.
Tourists came from all the world to be photographed with George. There were books written about him, which was translated into several languages. They can still be bought in bookstores at the airports in Ecuador.
However, on 24 June 2012 it was over. George went to the turtle heaven, where hopefully his loneliness ceased.
But how can it be that he now suddenly appears at the Natural History Museum in New York ???????????
Well, it’s only his earthly holster. Experts have spent more than a year to stop him and prepare him.
George fronts the exhibit with the telling name “The Face of Extinction.” His good-natured Ecuadorians face represents the hundreds of species of animals and plants that disappear each year. And you can add the more than 20,000 species which are considered endangered.
But George has no plans to make gringo of himself. Once the exhibition is over, in January 2015, he will be carried back to Ecuador where there it probably will be a permanent place for him in one of Quito’s museums.
Meanwhile the Galàpagos researchers have secured his DNA. Can they make a new Georgein in a few years?
More about the exhibition on the museum’s website.