More than 20,000 species of plants and animals around the world are currently under threat of extinction, and hundreds vanish each year. We don’t always know the exact time of extinction, but for the Pinta Island giant tortoise, the date was June 24, 2012.
On that day, Lonesome George—the Galapagos Island tortoise now on display at the American Museum of Natural History, and the last known member of his species—died of natural causes. With him, his species, Chelonoidis abingdoni, vanished.
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.