Ever wondered what the rarest animal in the world is? For a while, the distinction belonged to Lonesome George, the last of his kind of Pinta Island tortoises, whose once lush habitat had been ravaged by the introduction of feral goats. Lonesome George, who had the cooler Spanish name of El Solitario Jorge, a member of the Galápagos Tortoise subspecies C. n. abingdonii, native to the island of Pinta. Scientists tried to mate George with other Galápagos tortoise subspecies that are close to his own, but these attempts failed to produce viable eggs. Unfortunately, Lonesome George died on June 24, 2012, marking yet another species’ decline into extinction.
Galápagos giant tortoises only eat plants. They consume berries, lichens, grasses, and cacti that grow around the area. They have also been known to eat Hippomane mancinella, locally known as poison apples, guavas and water ferns. They usually consume about 32–36 kilograms of food a day. However, most food they consume doesn’t pass through nutritional extraction because of inefficient digestion.
While observing these animals, Charles Darwin thought that these animals were deaf since they could not hear him walking behind them. These tortoises are not deaf however, they depend much more on their sense of sight and smell to cope with their surroundings.