Reblog: Encomium: Lonesome George the Tortoise

Reblog: Encomium: Lonesome George the tortoise

by L’amore e forte come la morte

啟發進化論 巨型象龜絕種 「寂寞喬治」終年百歲
明報明報 – 2012年6月26日星期二上午5:29

文章: 棲息南美火山島 人類移民毁生態




明星巨龜「寂寞喬治」(Lonesome George)每年吸引18萬遊客造訪厄瓜多爾加拉帕戈斯國家公園。公園發言人表示,負責照顧這隻250公斤雄性象龜的職員,周日早上發現牠在所生活的聖魯克斯島(Santa Cruz Island)上,頭向水坑癱在地上動也不動。園方會驗屍查找其死因,並會將屍體永遠保存,留在園內展示。


象龜是陸生龜類中體型最大的一種,而加拉帕戈斯象龜壽命可達200歲,科學家估計「寂寞喬治」離世時約100歲。牠在1972年始見於加拉帕戈斯群島中最小的平塔島(Pinta Island)。由於當年已屬瀕臨絕種生物,故一直獲積極保育,惟由於同類俱亡,無法自行繁衍。科學家自1993年起不斷嘗試為牠繁殖後代,曾讓另外兩隻類近的母龜與之交配後生蛋兩次,但均非受精蛋。



L'amore e forte come la morte

I just read that Lonesome George, the presumed sole-remaining member of the Pinta Island giant tortoise species of the Galápagos, has died.  Lonesome George was more than just bearer of his evolutionary legacy.  He was an icon for the delicate precipice that all Galápagos species (and other threatened species globally) teeter upon.  Sadly, unless other Pinta individuals are somehow uncovered in the Galápagos or scattered around the world in zoos or other collections, Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni is gone forever.  Having visited the Galápagos Islands numerous times, I’m only too familiar with the raw hand dealt to these magnificent giants.

As early as 1789, whalers reached Galápagos shores having traveled halfway around the world to harvest its bounty.  And when they came ashore in search of freshwater, they slaughtered hundreds of thousands of giant Galápagos tortoises (Geochelone spp.) for food.  Decades of human visitors brought invasive species–goats and pigs–to these isolated…

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