December 5, 2008

No kids for 90-year-old tortoise

Park rangers at Ecuador's Galapagos National Park said a tortoise believed to be the last of its subspecies has failed in two attempts at fathering children.

The rangers said the 90-year-old tortoise named Lonesome George -- the last known member of the Pinta Island tortoise subspecies -- has shown little interest in mating since it was found in 1971, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Lonesome George, who has become a regional icon for conservation, did mate with two female tortoises of another subspecies in June and both of the females later laid eggs. However, scientists said all of the eggs turned out to be infertile.

Galapagos National Park Director-General Sixto Naranjo said it was not known whether George is unfertile but park rangers are searching for other prospective mates of similar subspecies for him.