A former high school classmate and cherished old friend when reconnecting with Roger through Facebook quoted the old saying: "When God closes a door, he opens a window." The years have seen a number of life changes for us that make that adage ring true. After being blessed with good fortune, a wonderful son and great experiences, we decided to look out that window and prepare for more of what this wonderful life has to offer. We hope through our blog to share our journey from this point forward with family, with friends and with many others. Hopefully we'll make some new friends along the way. We hope you find our tales of some interest, even amusement and perhaps an inspiration for you to treat each and every day as an opportunity and an adventure to share with those who are an important part of your life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Decanza en paz, Solitario Jorge!

Photo of Lonesome George is from the Ecuador & Galapagos Facebook page
The big news this week out of the land south of zero didn't have anything to do with visas, shipping containers, ex pats finding real estate or the changes in Ecuadorian bureaucracy.   It had to do with the passing of a presumed 100 year old giant turtle known as "Lonesome George".   George is one of about 20,000 giant tortoises that were current inhabitants of Ecuador's Galapagos islands, made famous through Charles Darwin's "Evolution of Species".

George was unique, however, among those 20,000 because he was the only one of his type....the sole survivor of a special subspecies of giant tortoise.  As such he became a symbol for conservation and biodiversity and of the Ecuadorian reverence for the abundant fauna and flora that exists here.

For those readers who aren't aware: Ecuador has more species of flora and fauna than any other single nation on earth.  It is also the only country on earth that has written special rights into its constitution for nature and the environment.  "Lonesome George" was more than just a tourist celebrity....he was a national symbol of the pride Ecuadorians feel about their country and the connection each Ecuadorian has to Nature.

"Lonesome George's name came about not only because he was the last of his kind but also because he was a bit of an individualist.  For many years , his keepers on the Galapagos had attempted pairing George with mates of of other subspecies of giant tortoise but he showed virtually no interest.  Only one mating was noted over years of effort but that, unfortunately, did not result in fertilized eggs.  George, unlike most of the wildlife on the Galapagos, also persistently avoided human contact when given the chance, with the sole exception of his keeper of nearly 4 decades.  He was, in fact, and in practice, a solitary individual.

George was found dead somewhat unexpectedly...giant tortoises, after all, are know to live up to 200 years.  However, given the fact that he is the only one of his subspecies that  modern zoologists have ever known, his estimated age and relation to lifespan may be speculative.

All we do know is that this treasured national symbol of the biodiversity is gone and will be sorely missed by all who treasure and cherish this land and what it has to offer.

So many people from all over the world have come to know the story of George that the national park officials have decided to create a special memorial album commemorating George's life.  If you were fortunate enough to visit the Galapagos and see and photograph George, you are encouraged to submit a remembrance email and your photograph for consideration as an addition to the memorial album.  Send your submission to  You can find more details and even read some of the submissions  on the Ecuador & Galapagos Facebook page.

Decanza en paz (rest in peace) Solitario will will be missed and you will be remembered so long as there is an Ecuador!

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