Chelonoidis abingdonii (Günther, 1877:85)

Abingdon Island (Giant) tortoise, Pinta Island (Giant) tortoise, Pinta giant tortoise



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Geochelone nigra abingdoni (Günther, 1877:85); Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni (Günther, 1877); Chelonoidis abingdoni (Günther, 1877); Testudo abingdoni Günther, 1877 (original combination); Geochelone elephantopus abingdonii (Günther, 1877); Testudo ephippium Günther, 1875:271; Geochelone nigra ephippium Günther, 1875:271


Conservation Status


Last record: 24 June 2012

IUCN status: Extinct


Chelonoidis abingdonii was believed to be extinct, before a single individual was found (Vágvölgyi, 1974). "Lonesome George" as he became known, was therefore without a conspecific companion (male or female), until his death on 24 June 2012. He was living at the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Galápagos Islands.

However, some slight hope remains of finding other purebred tortoises of his sub-species given the discovery of at least one first-generation hybrid between George's sub-species and one of the Isabela Island sub-species several years before his death.

Rumours existed that another male, nicknamed "Tony", who currently resides at the Prague Zoo, was a purebred Abingdon Island Tortoise. However, nothing seems to have been done about this, and no DNA tests were performed to anybody's knowledge, to either confirm or refute this claim. And given the immense importance of the potential discovery, the inaction of zoo staff is very suspicious. It was therefore most likely a publicity stunt by the offending zoo to attract more visitors.



Abingdon Island (=Pinta Island), Galápagos


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Günther, Albert Carl Ludwig Gotthilf. (1877). The Gigantic Land-Tortoises (Living and Extinct) in the Collection of the British Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London [1877]: 44, pl. xxii, fig. A.


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