100-Year-Old Tortoise Saves His Species By Fathering 800 Offsprings

Diego, a 100-year-old Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis), from the Galapagos island, is set to be released to his native island of Espanola this March, according to the Galapagos National Parks service (PNG).

Park rangers on Santa Cruz Island, California, believe Diego's contribution to the program has resulted in him being the patriarch of at least 40 percent of their 2,000 tortoise population!

Diego is a hero, he single-handedly saved his species by fathering 800 offsprings! 

Jorge Carrion, the PNG director, said, "About 1,800 tortoises have been returned to Espanola and now with natural reproduction, we have approximately 2,000 tortoises. This shows that they are able to grow, they are able to reproduce, they are able to develop."

And just to make this even more impressive, around 50 years ago, there were only two males and 12 females of Diego's species currently living on Espanola. Plus, they were too spread out to actually reproduce. 

Story via DailyMail

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He is over 100 years old, weighs about 175 pounds, is nearly 35 inches long, five feet tall, and the ladies love him. His name is Diego. Diego the Chelonoidis hoodensis Galapagos giant tortoise.

According to Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park, Diego "has fathered an estimated 800 offspring, almost single-handedly rebuilding the species' population--and saving it from extinction--on their native island, Espanola, the southernmost in the Galapagos Archipelago."

"Around 50 years ago, there were only two males and 12 females of Diego's species alive on Espanola, and they were too spread out to reproduce."

Six years ago, they did a genetic study and discovered that Diego was the father of nearly 40 percent of the offspring released into the wild on Espanola, thereby doing more parenting than any other turtle to repopulate the species.

"He's a very sexually active male reproducer. He's contributed enormously to repopulating the island," said Tapia.

"Rawr, damn straight," replied Diego.