Lonesome George and Diego’s untold story

Lonesome George and Diego’s untold story

Galapagos giant tortoises

Lonesome George was a living icon for world conservation until his passing on June 24, 2012. In captivity, he was cared for like a breathing relic in an isolated tortoise pen at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz Island. Feared to be the last remnant of his La Pinta Galapagos giant tortoise subspecies, scientists the world over tirelessly tried coupling him with genetically similar females, hoping to secure his pool for generations to come. All attempts proved unsuccessful. Upon his passing, new information surfaced from leading researchers in the Galápagos Islands, hinting that 17 young giant tortoises show levels of kinship with George’s subspecies and that perhaps a pure La Pinta tortoise breed still roams Isabela Island (carried there, one supposes, by pirates or settlers). This possibility would have been even more exciting during Mr. Lonesome lifetime, although he is certainly in everyone’s hearts and minds as hope remains to save the ‘Pinta’ from extinction. So much has certainly been said about Lonesome George’s, let’s call it, ‘shy approach to women’, which made the project of reproducing La Pinta tortoise DNA so painstakingly difficult… On the other hand, so little has been said of Super Diego.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise Foraging
The Giant Tortoise Is Protected By The Galapagos National Park.

Father of over 1,500 tortoises and the prolific breeder who made the breeding program for Española tortoises a runaway success, Diego certainly deserves a mention – indeed, he deserves a plaque at the Station, at the very least! In the early days of the National Park, the very few remaining Española tortoise individuals were taken from the wild and introduced into an ambitious breeding program at the Charles Darwin Station. Diego, who had been picked off from Española earlier on and resided at the San Diego Zoo, was brought back to the Galapagos (complete islands information) to spearhead the operation. His reproductive assets continue doing the job as the Española Giant Tortoise has successfully been reinserted into the wild…

Updated:May 5, 2023

Published:January 7, 2016


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person




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This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

Telegraph Ultra Travel: 50 Greatest Hotels in the World

When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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