"Lonesome George the late reptile prince of the Galapagos Islands may be dead." - initial AP report / Lima, Peru (24th June).
Reports say that Lonesome George was aged 100 years when he died; not all that old for a giant tortoise. One individual reached 170 years in captivity.
George was the last of his line. Scientists plan to revive the line by cross-breeding other sub-species. This could take between 100 and 150 years.
It is with a heavy heart that I note the extinction of the late reptile prince sub-species and other similar extinctions caused by man's incessant blundering. But what can I say or do about this tragedy or any other?
When so-called civilized men first discovered the Galapagos they found individual tortoises weighing as much as 4 men, more than 300 kg; when these giants were killed they were left to rot on the beaches, being too heavy to lift into rowing boats.
And 200 tortoises were killed in a single day. Tortoise steaks were on the menu.
At one time there were 300,000 tortoises living in the Galapagos Islands. Today the total may be just 10% of that number.
And so to this.