The story of Lonesome George, once known as the rarest animal in the entire world, is a tragic one. Born in 1910, the Pinta Island tortoise endured decades of misfortune and survived when every other member of his subspecies couldn't. He became a rallying mascot for conservation in the Galapagos Islands until his dying day, June 24, 2012.
NPR's Skunk Bear science Tumblr, run by the brilliant Adam Cole, created a fitting eulogy to the centenarian, whose subspecies became extinct the day George died. The video follows George's heartbreaking story. The other Pinta Island tortoises died off when they were eaten by sailors visiting the island. A herd of introduced feral goats also decimated the island's vegetation, a food source that the tortoises relied on. Likely unable to survive on Pinta Island, George was relocated to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island in 1971, and presented with a slew of female tortoises of other similar subspecies in the hopes that he would mate. But George failed to successfully mate, and he carried his rare genes along with him to tortoise heaven.