|A photograph of Lonesome George taken in 2006|
|George in 2007|
Lonesome George has become a symbol of failing species in the years that he has lived as the last remaining member of his own species. There are many species that are in serious trouble and not far away from having a fate identical to that of George and the rest of the Pinta Island tortoises. All species play and important role in their environment and there's no way to know what impact their extinction will have until they are gone. Like Jenga, there is no way of telling how many blocks can be taken out before the entire system collapses. This is why every species is precious and vital to the welfare of ecosystems. We have had success stories in the past, and hopefully conservation will keep many species from suffering the same fate as Lonesome George.
George's cause of death has yet to be determined, and a necropsy will be performed. There are plans to have his body embalmed. The demise of his species can be attributed to hunting for food and the eating of eggs by introduced species such as rats and wild pigs.
Sources are the BBC, Huffington Post, The Independent, and Tortoise Trust. Images are from Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licenses: one, two.