In 1971 a lone tortoise was found on the Galapagos island of Pinta. He is thought to be the last such Pinta tortoise, and in Lonesome George: The life and loves of a conservation icon
Henry Nicholls tells his story. A significant theme of the book concerns attempts to get George to reproduce, with the selection of genetically similar females from other islands, but little response from George himself. Nicholls looks at what is being done and at what might be done in future to get round this problem, including more speculative options such as cloning.
Nicholls tells the reader some of the history of the Galapagos tortoises - how they might have arrived on the islands, and of their encounters with humans, including Charles Darwin on the Beagle voyage. Unfortunately contact with humans generally resulted in tortoises being killed - either for meat or as specimens for collectors. Nowadays the emphasis is on conservation, and throughout the book Nicholls give examples of conservation efforts applied to other species, some of which have been highly successful, others less so. Hence this book will provide useful information for those interested in species conservation as well as being an entertaining read.