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On June 24, 2012, a 100-year-old, 91-kilogram (200-pound) tortoise nicknamed Lonesome George died in captivity. With the death of Lonesome George, the entire Pinta Island tortoise species went extinct.
 
Pinta Island tortoises used to thrive on Pinta Island, one of the 18 Galapagos Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. In the 1950s, settlers introduced goats to the island. The goats outcompeted the tortoises for the same vegetation. In 1972, Lonesome George was relocated to a research station on nearby Santa Cruz Island to spend the rest of his life. 
 
Although scientists worked to find Lonesome George a suitable mate, he died as lonesome as he lived. His life has become a symbol of the dangers of introduced species and the importance of conservation efforts in the Galapagos and around the world.
Noun

a group of closely scattered islands in a large body of water.

captivity
Noun

confinement or imprisonment.

Noun

edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

Noun

management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

extinct
Adjective

no longer existing.

introduced species
Noun

a species that does not naturally occur in an area. Also called alien, exotic, or non-native species.

Noun

body of land surrounded by water.

Lonesome George
Noun

last surviving Pinta Island tortoise.

mate
Noun

one of a breeding pair of animals.

outcompete
Verb

to perform better than another at the same task.

pet
Noun

animal kept as a helper or companion.

relocate
Verb

to move a residence or business from one place to another.

research station
Noun

structure or structures built for scientific study of the surrounding region, possibly including residential and lab facilities.

settler
Noun

person who migrates and establishes a residence in a largely unpopulated area.

species
Noun

group of similar organisms that can reproduce with each other.

suitable
Adjective

appropriate.

symbol
Noun

something used to represent something else.

thrive
Verb

to develop and be successful.

tortoise
Noun

land-based turtle, usually with a tall, rounded shell.

vegetation
Noun

all the plant life of a specific place.

Noun

place where animals are kept for exhibition.

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