Prince Charles looks up 120-year-old tortoise in Ecuador

March 18th, 2009 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Puerto Ayora (Ecuador), March 18 (EFE) Britain’s Prince Charles and wife Camilla visited the 120-year-old tortoise known as Lonesome George, the only one left of its subspecies, at the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Galapagos island of Santa Cruz.
Accompanied by station director Gabriel Lopez, Ecuadorian Environment Minister Marcela Aguinaga and the director of Galapagos National Park, Edgar Munoz, the prince visited the breeding ground of the giant Galapagos tortoises where he became the godfather of a recently hatched specimen that he decided to call William after his eldest son.

He also saw Lonesome George, which he observed for some 10 minutes at its enclosure.

The prince expressed an interest in the feeding and living conditions of George, which is estimated to be 120 years old and never had any offspring.

Later under the burning sun, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were told by the research station director of the steps being taken to control the invasions of exotic species on the archipelago.

Minister Aguinaga said at a meeting earlier Monday that Charles pledged to become an advocate for Ecuador’s offer to abstain from exploiting a lucrative oil deposit in an environmentally sensitive area if developed nations are willing to compensate Quito for half of the forgone revenue.

The ITT oilfield is located in Yasuni National Park, an area rich in biodiversity in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where reserves of crude are estimated at close to one billion barrels.

The project was presented to the prince last Sunday by Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno.

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