A sex-crazed tortoise that fathered hundreds of children and was acclaimed for “saving its species from extinction” was retired only a few years ago after siring over 800 children.
Yes, it was a difficult task, but somebody had to do it.
The tortoise in this case was a valiant soldier named Diego.
Diego the Galápagos tortoise was retired from his duties at the Galápagos national park’s breeding programme on Santa Cruz island, with Ecuador’s environment minister Paulo Proaño Andrade calling his retirement as the ‘end of an era’.
“We are finishing a significant chapter,” he declared at the time.
Diego, together with 14 other male tortoises, was sent to his ancestral home, the isolated island of Espaola, on June 15, 2020, after spending decades reproducing in captivity to prevent the extinction of the species.
The 2,000 tortoises that dwell there are at least 40% the product of Diego’s strong libido, according to park authorities.
That many baby tortoises must have made Diego’s home Christmas a nightmare.
He is still alive, around 102 or 103 years old, and weighs about 175 pounds (80kg).
Diego has received praise for preserving his species, and rightfully so.
The park’s director, Jorge Carrion, told the AFP news agency: “He has made a significant contribution to the lineage that we are bringing back to Spain.
The prospect of restoring the turtle to his natural state makes me happy, she said.
Diego and the other tortoises he was released with were confined to prevent bringing any vegetation from the other island into the small island’s sensitive environment.
Diego was allegedly removed from the Galápagos Islands by a scientific mission some 80 years ago, according to the park administration.
Before being transferred to Santa Cruz island roughly 50 years ago, he was first sent to the San Diego Zoo in California. He was put on a breeding program there together with 15 other tortoises.
Only two males and twelve females of Diego’s species, the Hood Island giant tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis), could be found in their natural habitat when they were first taken.
It’s possible, though maybe unlikely, that one of the Galápagos Islands’ remaining giant tortoises was a hatchling during Charles Darwin’s renowned visit in 1835, according to National Geographic’s description of the creatures.
“With an average lifespan of nearly 100 years, giant tortoises are the longest-living vertebrates. The oldest person ever was 152 years old.
It is believed that the native animal species, including as iguanas and tortoises, that were originally discovered on the Galápagos played a significant part in the formulation of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.