Lonesome George at the Museum

Part of the Lonesome George exhibition.

At the time of Lonesome George’s death, Eleanor Sterling, former director and now chief conservation scientist of the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, happened to be in the Galapagos for an education and outreach workshop with colleagues at the Galapagos National Park Service, the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, and the Galapagos Conservancy.

The institutions worked together to carefully pack George’s body for shipment first to the Museum for an assessment by conservation experts and then to Wildlife Preservations, a taxidermy studio in Woodland, NJ.

Three people crouch behind a large taxidermy tortoise on a wheeled cart. The tortoise has straps around its middle and wrapping around its neck.
Herpetologist Darrel Frost gives pointers on tortoise anatomy to Wildlife Preservations President George Dante.
AMNH/C. Chesek

Over the last two years, Wildlife Preservations taxidermy experts have worked closely with Museum scientists to preserve Lonesome George as he appeared in life—down to a missing toenail on his left front foot. The taxidermy mount shows the tremendous height George could achieve by extending his neck and limbs.

Lonesome George Sketch
Wildlife Preservations President George Dante drew this sketch of the pose for Lonesome George. Click for full-size image.
© AMNH/C. Chesek

Lonesome George will be on view for a limited time at the Museum before being returned to Ecuador.