Lonesome George has died, leaving the world one species poorer.
The only remaining Pinta Island tortoise and celebrated conservation icon passed away Sunday, the Galapagos National Park Service said in a statement.
Estimated to be more than 100 years old, the creature’s cause of death remains unclear and a necropsy is planned.
Lonesome George’s longtime caretaker, Fausto Llerena, found the tortoise’s remains stretched out in the “direction of his watering hole” on Santa Cruz Island, the statement said.
Lonesome George was discovered on Pinta Island in 1972 at a time when tortoises of his type were already believed to be extinct. Since then, the animal had been part of the park service’s tortoise program.
Repeated efforts to breed Lonesome George failed.