Diego, the tortoise who saved his species from extinction, has retired


(AP) – A 100-year-old tortoise called Diego is responsible for the fertilization of 800 offspring and for contributing substantially to the salvation of one of the species of giant tortoise in the Galapagos Islands.

Diego will return in March to his original habitat at Espanola Island, from where he was extracted more than eight decades ago.

This type of giant tortoise went from a critical state of 15 specimens – including Diego – to 2000 specimens, thanks to the Giant Turtle Restoration program.

Diego is a prolific male who lived 30 years at the San Diego Zoo, California, before being part of the captive breeding program.

The impressive specimen weighs about 80 kilos, is just under a meter long and can reach 1.5 meters of height when he stretches his legs and neck.

One of the main causes for the disappearance of this type of giant tortoise was because they were being captured by pirates, who used to fish them as food for their crew.

Diego began a quarantine process last week for his reintroduction into the Isla Espanola, in order to eliminate risks of seed dispersal from plants that are not typical of the island, said the Galapagos National Park.

Espanola Island is also the habitat of iguanas, sea lions and birds of various types.


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