Diego The Tortoise Saves His Entire Species By Fathering 800 Offspring

This centenarian Casanova has fathered approximately 40% of his subspecies.

Credit: Flickr

rtyCredit: Flickr / CC

Few have contributed to their species in the way Diego, a 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise, has. After scientists studied members of his subspecies on the island of Española, his native home, they learned that the centenarian Casanova is responsible for fathering approximately 40% of all Chelonoidis hoodensis in the area.

Due to tourism and overexploitation of the island, populations of the tortoise dropped between 100,000 and 200,000 during the 19th century. Fortunately, Diego was blessed with a healthy libido and did his part to help perk up populations of his subspecies.

According to IFLScience, Diego has fathered approximately 800 offspring in his lifetime. Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park, commented on Diego’s insatiable sexual appetite.

“He’s a very sexually active male reproducer. He’s contributed enormously to repopulating the island.” 

Considering a Galagos Island turtle can live up to 190 years, it doesn’t seem likely that Diego is done fathering offspring. That’s a positive thing, because according to AFP news agency, populations of the Chelonoidis hoodensis are not back to their former health. At present, there are about 2,000 tortoises on the island of Española. On all islands, there are about 20,000 wild tortoises, made up of between 12 to 14 different subspecies and separate populations.

Before Diego was returned to the island of Española, he spent the majority of his life in the San Diego zoo, hence his name. In 1976, the turtle – who is 35 inches (90 cm) long and approximately 175 (80 kg) in weight – was relocated to his native homeland. Based on what scientists now know about Diego’s sexual appetite, that was an intelligent move.

For his hard work, the  amphibian is being sent to retire on the neighboring island of Santa Cruz where he will live with six girlfriends and receive all the lettuce he can chomp on, reports DeathAndTaxesMag.

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