A giant tortoise named Diego has helped save his species from extinction by fathering 800 hatchlings over the period of several decades.
Diego the tortoise with unrivaled libido is finally set to roam free in the wilderness after joining a special breeding program in the 1960s and fathering 800 hatchlings.
Diego, who is now over 100 years old, worked for decades to repopulate his species while initially staying on the Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California together with another male tortoise and 12 female reptiles.
Back in the 1960s, Diego was one of only two male members of the Chelonoidis hoodensis species left on the Galápagos island of Española.
In the following decades, however, Diego continued to provide female tortoises with offspring and fathered a whopping 800 hatchlings.
Now, the species has been stabilized once again with more than 2,000 members, meaning that Diego and other tortoises of his species will be able to return to their natural environment.
“Based on the results of the last census conducted at the end of 2019 and all the data available since 1960, both of the island and its turtle population, we developed mathematical models with different possible scenarios for the next hundred years and in all the conclusion was that the island has sufficient conditions to keep the turtle population that will continue to grow normally, even without any new repatriation of juveniles,” Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative’s director, Washington Tapia, announced.
As Galapagos National Park’s director, Jorge Carrión, added, the breeding program, of which Diego was the main star, has “helped to ensure that the island’s ecosystems currently have adequate conditions to support the growing population of turtles.”
As for Diego, he has become somewhat of a conservation figure who is believed to be related to around 40% of all tortoises on the island.
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