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Last giant Galapagos tortoise being preserved

July 2, 2013 at 5:12 PM   |   Comments

WOODLAND PARK, N.J., July 2 (UPI) -- The last giant Galapagos tortoise, which died last year, is being preserved by taxidermists in New Jersey and will eventually be returned home to Ecuador.

Lonesome George, whose death last year marked the end of his subspecies, was defrosted last week at a Woodland Park studio and is being preserved.

Plans call for it to go on display next winter at the American Museum of Natural History in New York before it is permanently returned to his home at a Galapagos Islands research station, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

"What George is as a symbol shouldn't be forgotten," said Linda Cayot, the science adviser to the Galapagos Conservancy. "And the best way of doing that is having him there in front of everyone."

Johannah Barry, founder and president of the conservancy, said preserving George's remains, which were frozen after his death, cost "$30,000 and counting" for a group consisting of the conservancy, the American Museum of Natural History, Ecuador's Galapagos National Park and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.

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