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Last Updated: Wednesday July 23 2008 06:59 GMT

Rare tortoise 'to become a dad'

George

An endangered tortoise living in the Galapagos Islands in South America could be about to become a dad.

Lonesome George, who is thought to be more than 70 years old, is very rare because he's the last surviving tortoise of his kind.

For years, experts Galapagos National Park where he lives have been hoping he would have babies with his companions.

Now rangers have discovered a nest of eggs in his enclosure which they hope will hatch into babies.

George's keepers will find out if the eggs contain his offspring in about four months' time.

Rare species

Eggs laid in George's pen
Eggs laid in George's pen
The Galapagos Islands are home to some of our rarest species of plants and animals, including giant tortoises like George, marine iguanas and rare sea lions.

The islands are 621 miles off the coast of Ecuador in South America and they were the first place on the planet to become a protected World Heritage site more than 30 years ago.