Prolific Tortoise

A species of Galapagos giant tortoise once on the brink of extinction has been saved with the help of a half-century of tireless breeding from one of only three surviving males.

Since 1976, “Diego” has fathered 800 of the now 2,000 Chelonoidis hoodensis of Española Island. But since the species is no longer in danger and the successful captive breeding project is ending, the pressure is now off for the approximately 130-year-old Diego.

Experts say the playboy has a “big personality” and is aggressive, active and vocal while mating. Diego will be allowed to live out his golden years in leisure after finally being released back into the wild on his native Española Island, where he was captured by scientists 80 years ago.


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