GALAPAGOS ISLAND -
Famed giant tortoise Lonesome George has died on the Galapagos Islands, leaving the world one subspecies poorer. The only remaining Pinta Island giant tortoise and celebrated symbol of conservation efforts in the Galapagos passed away Sunday with no known offspring, the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador said in a statement. Lonesome George's longtime caretaker, Fausto Llerena, found the giant tortoise's remains stretched out in the "direction of his watering hole" on Santa Cruz Island, it said. Estimated to be more than 100 years old, the creature's cause of death remains unclear and a necropsy is planned. Lonesome George is being kept in a cold chamber to prevent decomposition prior to the procedure. Lonesome George was discovered on Pinta Island in 1972 at a time when giant tortoises of his type, were already believed to be extinct. Since then, the animal had been part of the park service's tortoise programme, but repeated efforts to breed Lonesome George failed. In honour of Lonesome George, an international workshop will be convened in July on management strategies for restoring tortoise populations over the next decade.