A Proud Father! Galapagos Tortoise Set For Release After Saving His Species With 800 Offspring
A 130-year-old Galapagos tortoise has single-handedly saved his species by fathering 800 offspring.
Now, since his job is done, he is set to return home.
Diego, believed to be taken from the Galapagos Islands, was recruited along with 14 other adults for a captive breeding program and will be returned to his native island of Espanola in March, the Galapagos National Parks service said in a statement.
The population went from 15 to 2,000 tortoises due to the program, according to the conservancy. Park rangers believe that 40% of the current population of tortoises are descendants of Diego.
“He’s contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola,” said Jorge Carrion, the park’s director. “There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state.”
Closing the breeding program will include the return of the 15 original adults — 12 females and two males.