Washington Tapai, technitian of the Galapagos National Park Directorate (DPNG for its Spanish acronym), stated that the process to restore the race of Lonesome George, Chelonoidis abingdoni, won’t be easy because the 17 subjects found Wolf volcano of Isabela island, are not all pure-breed from the Pinta island (home of George), they are hybrids.
During the sixties only four subjects of the species Chelonoidis hoodensis existed in the Spanish island. Today there are around 2,000 turtles of this family that live in the island. In the first trimester of 2013 the expeditions to Wolf volcano will begin to capture 17 identified individual in order to take them to captivity in Santa Cruz. In the expedition turtles that were not in the investigation will be looked for.
After being transferred, scientific studies will give the genetic characteristics of each turtle. “We have to see, of those 17, which ones have more genes from Pinta to know how to group them and thus reproduce.”
As we know the “Lonesome George”, a giant turtle that recently died in captivity and only mated on several occasions, had no direct descendants, so this recent news opens hope for his race and does not become extinct.