50 years ago there were only a couple dozen of these turtles. Through the efforts of Diego, the father of 800 children, they became a hundred times more.
A 100-year-old male giant tortoise of the species Chelonoidis hoodensis nicknamed Diego returns to the wild with a mission. Diego almost single-handedly managed to save his species from extinction by succeeding in the breeding program, for which he was called the “playboy” and “the tortoise with the legendary libido” in the media. After decades, Diego, the father of 800 children, can rest.
The species Chelonoidis hoodensis was discovered in the Galapagos Islands in the 1960s. Around the same time, it became known that the species was in danger of complete extinction: two males and 12 females remained on the islands. Then scientists began to look for other turtles to launch a program to save the world.
Diego was found at the San Diego Zoo (and was nicknamed after his city) and brought to the Santa Cruz island of California. For more than 40 years, he participated in the program, and scientists emphasize its importance: Diego helped increase the population of the species to 2 thousand individuals. The Galopalos National Park Service estimated that 40% of individuals are descendants of Diego. “He is an extremely sexually active male,” researchers said in 2016.
In social networks, Diego was met as a hero.