Diego, The Giant Tortoise, Who Helped Save His Species, Retires

Nicolas Völcker / Wikimedia Commons

Go, Diego, go!

Back in 1970, there were only fourteen giant tortoises left on Española Island in the Galapagos: 12 females, and 2 males. That’s when a breeding program was started to try to save the population.

Diego was not one of the original two males, he was brought in in 1976 from the San Diego Zoo, and is now credited with helping to save his entire species. Diego apparently has a very high sex drive and over the years has produced over 800 offspring, nearly 40% of the now over 2,000 giant tortoises that call Española Island home.

Washington Tapia, the director of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative, says that the tortoise population will now continue to grow normally without the breeding program. This means that Diego gets to retire, and he’ll be taken back to his home on Española Island, where it is believed he was taken from nearly 80 years ago (he is now over 100).

Between the breeding program and conservation efforts, it looks like the giant tortoises will be around for a long time to come.

Souce:: NY Times