How this sexy tortoise saved his species

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2020

Diego, which is over 100 years old, joined the program at the San Diego Zoo in the USA state of California with 14 other tortoises from the Espanola Island.

His species was on the brink of extinction 50 years ago with just two males and 12 females alive on the island.

Fifteen tortoises were involved in the breeding programme to save the Chelonoidis hoodensis species but none performed quite as well as Diego, whose Casanova ways have given a renewed sense of hope for the endangered reptiles.

After a stint in California's San Diego Zoo, he was shipped to Santa Cruz Island several decades ago along with 14 other adult tortoises to, in no uncertain terms, fuck for the future of their species.


"It is estimated that approximately 40 percent of tortoises repatriated to the Espanola Island are his descendants", the Galapagos National Park said in a statement.

The PNG believes he was taken from the Galapagos in the first half of the 20th century by a scientific expedition.

Now, with his job in breeding done, he is being released back into the wild on his home island nearly eight decades after being extracted from it.

"He's contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola", said Carrion.


"It is a feeling of happiness to be able to restore this turtle to its natural state".

Diego "will return home, #Espanola Island, 8 decades later".

"We developed mathematical models with different possible scenarios for the next 100 years and in all the conclusion was that the island has sufficient conditions to keep the tortoise population that will continue to grow normally, even without any new repatriation of juveniles", said Washington Tapia, director of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI).

But when the 80kg tortoise returns to his native island - after almost 80 years away - he will join an 1,800-strong population.


The islands, 906km west of continental Ecuador, are a Unesco World Heritage site renowned worldwide for their unique array of plants and wildlife, including seals, iguanas, tortoises and birds. George's species, Chelonoidis abingdonii, was wiped out because he never fathered any progeny in all his years at the park. Not because your tortoise species is about to go extinct, but because that's what comes naturally.

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