A tortoise, Diego the Galápagos tortoise, with high sex drive saved his species from extinction after fathering 800 kids KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt


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Friday, January 13, 2023

A tortoise, Diego the Galápagos tortoise, with high sex drive saved his species from extinction after fathering 800 kids

A sex-crazed tortoise who had fathered hundreds and has been praised for 'saving its species from extinction' was retired just a few years ago after siring more than 800 children.

Yes, it was a tough job, but some tortoise had to do it.

In this case, that tortoise was a brave soldier called Diego. Diego was breeding in captivity to save the species from extinction for decades, but was sent on June 15 2020 to live out the rest of his days in his native home, the uninhabited island of Española, along with 14 other male tortoises.

Park rangers said that Diego fathered at least 40 percent of the 2,000 tortoises that live there, thanks to his high libido.

That's a lot of baby tortoises - Christmas must have been a nightmare in Diego's house.

Now aged around 102 or 103, he's still alive and weighs in at around 175 pounds (80kg).

Diego has been hailed for saving his species, with good reason.

Jorge Carrion, the park's director, told AFP news agency: "He's contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Española.

When they were first taken, there were only two males and 12 females of Diego's species - Chelonoidis hoodensis or the Hood Island giant tortoise - in their natural habitat.

Describing Galápagos tortoises, National Geographic writes: "It is possible, though perhaps unlikely, that among the remaining giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands, there exists an old-timer that was a hatchling at the time of Charles Darwin's famous visit in 1835.

"Giant tortoises are the longest-lived of all vertebrates, averaging over 100 years. The oldest on record lived to be 152."

From there Diego, who is 175lb (12.5 stone) and an incredible 5ft tall when he stretches, became a prolific breeder. 

He is said to be responsible for at least 40 per cent of the 2,000 existing members of his species, Chelonoidis hoodensis - a species of Galapagos tortoise only found on Espanola.

Ecuador's Environment minister shared two pictures of Diego and fifteen others of his species making the journey back to Española Island, with the caption: 'We close an important chapter in the management of Galápagos National Park.

'Fifteen turtles of from Española Island, including Diego, return home after decades of breeding in captivity and saving their species from extinction. Your island welcomes you with open arms.' In order to stop non-native plants being spread to the island by the tortoises - as they may be carrying seeds in their digestive system - the tortoises spent time in quarantine before being transferred home by boat.

Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park said: 'He's a very sexually active male reproducer. He's contributed enormously to repopulating the island.

Mr Tapia added: 'We don't know exactly how or when he arrived in the United States. He must have been taken from Espanola sometime between 1900 and 1959 by a scientific expedition.

We did a genetic study and we discovered that he was the father of nearly 40 percent of the offspring released into the wild on Espanola.' 

The Galápagos islands were well documented for their biodiversity in 1835 when Charles Darwin spent five weeks there studying the turtles, giant tortoises, the marine and land iguanas, the circling frigate birds. 

However the population dwindled in the years after this due to predators, human behaviour, and habitat destruction from invasive species.

Thanks to Diego's efforts the future outlook for his species has vastly improved, just 50 years ago there were only 12 female tortoise on Española Island - who had ventured to different parts of the island making reproduction less likely, reports The Guardian.   

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