The Rarest Creature in the World

Lonsome George is an endling - the last surviving member of a species, or sub-species, and upon whose death extinction takes place.

George is the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, from the Galapagos Islands. He currently lives in the Charles Darwin Research Station, and is thought to be around a hundred years old. He is often described as the rarest creature in the world.

There are estimated to have been 250,000 giant Galapagos tortoises on the islands before the arrival of man. Hunting and habitat clearance reduced the numbers to just a few thousand by 1970. Conservation efforts in recent decades have produced a modest recovery of several subspecies, unfortunately for George, not his.

When George dies and the Pinta Island tortoise finally becomes extinct, it will join a long list of species driven to extinction by humans. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to be the last.


Thylacine (1936)

Pig Footed Bandicoot (1950s)

Mexican Grizzly Bear (1964)

Imperial Woodpecker (probably 1950s)

Japanese Sealion (1974)

Caspian Tiger (1980s)

Pyrenean Ibex (2000)

Yangtze River Dolphin (probably 2007)

Western Black Rhino (2011)


Photo by from Wikipedia

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