Letter: Tortoise `racism'

Sir: Lonesome George, the Abingdon Island tortoise (report, 9 November), is facing extinction because he is a racist in the strictest scientific definition of the term. If he persists in refusing to mate with females whose shells are of a slightly different colour or pattern, or whose necks and legs are of slightly different size, shape or texture, then he deserves to die childless, and the biosphere is well rid of his genes.

I suggest we re-name him "Adolph" and record his final agony to educate schoolchildren in the stupidity of racism. This could culminate in a photo of him lying dead in the zoo, maggots crawling out of his eye-sockets, with the caption, "See, kids: this is what happens to racists."

The successful matriarchs and patriarchs of today's species and sub-species were, by definition, individuals who were willing to take a chance on sex. This time, let's let a sub-species kill itself off out of its own genetic stupidity, as a lesson for our troubled age.


London W6