Galapagos tortoise ‘Diego’ retires after his high sex drive saved his species

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A Galapagos tortoise, believed to be 130-years-old is returning home after his high sex drive and abilities helped to save his species.

According to the Galapagos Org. Ecuador’s Environmental Ministry concluded the 40-year captive breeding program for Española tortoises following an ecological evaluation of Española Island, conducted by the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and Galapagos Conservancy as part of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI).

Diego, one of the tortoises (Chelonoidis hoodensis species) had been brought to the United States between 1918 and 1933 spending 30 years at the San Diego Zoo in their breeding program after the species was declared critically endangered. In 1977 he and the other tortoises returned to Ecuador.

The original 15 adults – 12 females and two males will be released back into the their natural habitats.

The population has since increased from 15 to 2,000 tortoises, and 40% of the current population are thought to be descendants of Diego – thus this single guy having sired 800 turtles.

The species remains on the critically endangered list.

Happy retirement Diego.

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