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'Lonesome George' tortoise goes to New York for embalming

Published on Mar 13, 2013 6:21 AM

QUITO (AFP) - The body of "Lonesome George," a giant Galapagos tortoise once believed to be the last of its kind, has been sent to New York to be embalmed and then returned home, the Galapagos National Park said on Tuesday.

A rare Pinta Island giant tortoise, George died June 24, 2012 at an estimated 100 years of age.

At the time, he was believed to be the last of the Pinta Island tortoises, but scientists have since found at least 17 other Galapagos tortoises with similar genetic traits to George, raising hopes for keeping the endangered species going.

His remains were flown on Monday night to New York where the Museum of Natural History will preserve him with a taxidermic procedure that will take eight to nine months to complete.

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