CNN reports Diego, a libidinous giant tortoise who’s been in service to a breeding program at the Galapagos National Park for decades, has finally retired to his native island of Española.
Paulo Proaño Andrade, Ecuador’s environment minister tweeted Monday about the significance of Diego’s retirement.
“Fifteen tortoises from Española, including Diego, are going home after decades of breeding in captivity and saving their species from extinction,” he wrote. “Their island receives them with open arms.”
Cerramos un capítulo importante en la gestión del @parquegalapagos, 15 tortugas de #Española, incluyendo a #Diego, regresan a casa tras décadas de reproducirse en cautiverio y salvar a su especie de la extinción. Su isla las recibe con los brazos abiertos. (Noticia en desarrollo) pic.twitter.com/M4a4maQm9E— Paulo Proaño Andrade (@PauloProanoA) June 15, 2020
The 100-year-old tortoise also got a shoutout from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP):
“The giant tortoise is over 100 years old and produced around 800 offspring,” the UNEP wrote.
👏🏻👏🏻 Diego regresó hoy a su ambiente natural en la isla Española del archipiélago de Galápagos 🇪🇨, tras décadas de reproducirse en cautiverio para salvar a su especie.— Programa ONU Medio Ambiente (@unep_espanol) June 15, 2020
La tortuga gigante más de 100 años tuvo alrededor de 800 crías.
¡Bien hecho Diego! https://t.co/jUgRnJFTVs pic.twitter.com/SA7bQz7GxG
Diego was transferred from the San Diego Zoo to take part in a breeding program started in 1960 in the Galapagos.
About 50 years ago, when he was taken into custody by The Galapagos National Parks services, there were just 2 males and 12 females of species alive on the island. But thanks in part to Diego’s unstoppable sex drive, the giant tortoise population has grown over 2,000.
In fact, representatives from the parks service believe the big daddy tortoise fathered around 40% of the total population. Do the math and you’ll find that’s about 800 baby tortoises— give this guy a toast!
Diego weighs about 175 pounds, is nearly 35 inches long, and can stretch to a height of 5 feet.
The Galapagos Islands are located about 563 miles off the west coast of Ecuador and are the famous site of Charles Darwin’s research that led to his Theory of Evolution.
People travel from all around the world to experience the biodiversity present on the largely uninhabited islands home to rare indigenous species.