Lonesome George, the 100-year old tortoise famous for being the last of his kind, is set to be stuffed and put on display at the research station where he spent the last forty years before his death.
George was a giant Galapagos tortoise–five feet long and 200 pounds–and was the last of his kind. When he died last year–at a relatively young age–the scientists who had spent years studying him were grief-stricken. Now, after being perfectly preserved in deep freeze for the past year, his body will be on display for everyone to look at and learn from.
“What George is as a symbol shouldn’t be forgotten,” said Linda Cayot, the science adviser to the Galápagos Conservancy, who worked with him for several years. “And the best way of doing that is having him there in front of everyone.”
George’s habitat was destroyed by harvesting and the introduction of goats to the island; in his last years, he became an icon for the preservation of the Galapagos environment. Sadly, scientists tried several times to get George to procreate, and although some eggs were produced, none hatched.
George will be stuffed in a standing position with his neck extended, a familiar pose to those who worked with him every day. He’ll be on display at the American Museum of Natural History next winter before being shipped back to the Galapagos Islands for permanent display.