QUITO: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have met the last surviving member of a subspecies of giant Galapagos tortoise, and they came away impressed by his girth.
Upon seeing the tortoise called Lonesome George, Charles said to Camilla: “Darling, have you seen the size of him?” Lonesome George is believed to be nearly 80 years old. Galapagos Island Park rangers have been trying unsuccessfully to help George reproduce for 36 years.
The royal couple also became the godparents of a baby tortoise which they named after their son William.
The couple visited the Galapagos to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, on the final leg of a 10-day South American tour highlighting his commitment to battling climate change.
The archipelago is a pristine nature reserve which inspired Darwin in his theory of evolution.The couple was accompanied to the Galapagos by Ecuador’s Environment Minister, Marcela Aguinaga. — Agencies
Corrections and Clarifications
The caption of the accompanying AFP photograph in a report "Charles, Camillameet a veteran" ("Newscape" page, March 18, 2009) was "Prince Charles andthe Duchess of Cornwall next to the giant turtle." As the text said, itshould have been "the giant tortoise". (Prince Charles and his wife Camillahave met Lonesome George, the last surviving member of a subspecies of giantGalapagos tortoise.)