PINTA ISLAND— Lonesome George, a 100-Year-Old Galapagos Tortoise believed to be the last of its subspecies, died yesterday in what investigators are calling an apparent suicide.
“He had nobody,” said Carlos Dominguez, head detective for the Endangered Galápagos Tortoise Security League, a group that has historically had very few creatures to worry about. “It was just him, his shell, and his suicidal thoughts.”
After years of isolation, even the once-enjoyable activity of grass eating became nothing but a burden for Lonesome George.
Since finding George in 1971, caretakers have attempted to get the tortoise to mate with females in related subspecies. However, all their efforts failed, leaving George with a severe sexual frustration that would ultimately plummet him into deep clinical depression.
“Without a viable female companion, George became functionally no different from a eunuch,” said renowned reptile psychologist Gunter Jacobson. “In tortoise culture, producing offspring is a rite of passage. As such, Lonesome George’s likely perceived himself as worthless and a waste of a good shell.”
Caretakers admitted that they never suspected George may have been depressed despite his recent sluggishness and tendency to retreat into his cold, dark shell for hours on end.