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Oddly Enough

George the tortoise fights extinction

Monday, January 24, 2011 - 01:40

Jan 24 - Galapagos tortoise, Lonesome George, is introduced to two new females in the hopes the giant animal will finally produce offspring and save his species from extinction. Tara Cleary reports.

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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Ecuador's Galapagos Islands - home to many unusual species. But none as rare as Lonesome George. This giant tortoise from the island of Pinta is the only known survivor of his species. And at 90-years-old, George is in his sexual prime. So conservationists at the Galapagos National Park are encouraging the reptile to mate. They have identified two females for George, hoping that it will be love at first sight. The females, from a different subspecies, were chosen according to their DNA, says Herpetologist Diego Cisneros. SOUNDBITE: Herpetologist Diego Cisneros, saying (Spanish): "That allowed us to determine females that had better capacity and better chance of mating with George. There are also other components; there are other things that we have not been able to ignore. Some people are suggesting that perhaps George is still very young." George tried once before to procreate, back in 2009. But the eggs laid by the female were infertile. If this attempt fails, Cisneros says there could be other options. SOUNDBITE: Herpetologist Diego Cisneros, saying (Spanish): "There are certain methodologies, hybridization, cloning, etc. but they are not so easy and we're talking about reptiles, the study of which is not as advanced as the studies of other animals." But here's hoping that George and his two new companions hit it off and the tortoise known as the world's "rarest living creature" will produce a long line of descendants. Tara Cleary, Reuters.

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George the tortoise fights extinction

Monday, January 24, 2011 - 01:40