Pinta Island is a shield volcano with numerous young lava flows and fissures, its landscapes relatively arid and dry. Unfortunately Pinta Island cannot be visited on a normal Galapagos Island cruise, but it is worth mentioning for its most famous resident, Lonesome George, the last ever Pinta tortoise. Despite an area of 60 square kilometres, there is a wide variety of wildlife found here, including Galapagos hawks, fur seals, swallow-tailed gulls and marine iguanas. The island once had a thriving tortoise population, now almost diminished due to poaching by whalers and fishermen. Feral goats were introduced in 1958 which diminished the food supplies and hence, the native tortoises.
Lonesome George was the last survivor of the Pinta tortoise subspecies. Discovered in the 1900’s and moved to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, the many failed attempts to mate him lead to him living the life of a bachelor till his passing in June 2012.
On a more positive note, the island is now starting to recover from its darker days, with food supplies returning to help ensure the survival of the local wildlife.
Despite being unable to visit, it is worth learning about this island, it is an important part of the Galapagos Islands past and present.