Ninety years old and considered one of the world's rarest organisms, the giant tortoise from the Galapagos Islands known as "Lonesome George" stunned conservationists when he mated with two females earlier this summer. To the dismay of scientists studying the eggs however, 80 percent of the eggs appear to be duds.
Originating from Pinta Island, once home to thousands of saddleback tortoises, George (Geochelone nigra abingdoni) is the last of his kind to be found and was taken into captivity in 1971. The females were from a different subspecies of giant tortoise on a neighbouring island.
But Ecuadorean scientists in charge of the tortoise re-population plan on Pinta are not about to give up. In spite of his lack of libido for the last decades and various attempts at artificial insemination and "tabloid-like rumours the 90-kilogram creature preferred other males," George is in his reproductive prime, and his keepers hope that the remaining eggs could still yield offspring.
Read the full story here.