How sex-thirsty turtle Diego saved his from extinction by fathering 800 children

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A giant tortoise became a hero of his kind after his libido managed to save his species from extinction in Ecudaor.

Deigo, a giant tortoise from the Galapagos, managed to save his species by spawning 800 young in a breeding program at the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center on Santa Cruz Island, one of the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of the ‘Ecuador.

The turtle, said to be over 100 years old, used her now legendary libido to be responsible for 40% of the estimated 2,000 turtles born through the program.

Just 50 years ago, there were only two males and 12 females of Diego’s species living in Española, another of the Galapagos Islands.



Diego helped save his species by spawning 800 turtles on the Galapagos Islands

The breeding program was started because intervention was needed due to the low number of turtles as the turtles were too scattered on the island to breed.

Diego’s frenzied procreation helped save his species, Chelonoidis hoodensis, from extinction.

He was so special that he was more popular with women than almost all of the other men in the program.



Deigo
He was known to have “a great personality” although he was more “aggressive” than other men.

James P. Gibbs, professor of environmental and forest biology at the State University of New York in Syracuse, described Diego as having “a great personality.”

He told the New York Times that Diego was “quite aggressive, active and vocal in his mating habits so I think he got most of the attention.”

Diego was also a fairly strong physical specimen weighing around 175 pounds, 35 inches long and five feet tall if fully stretched.



Diego
Diego would be responsible for 40% of the 2000 descendants created during the program

His sacrifice of spending decades raising has also meant that the program, which was launched in 1965, is no longer needed.

The program began by trying to help the turtle population on Pinzón Island, before researchers turned to Española in 1970.

Diego finally got a break from his breeding duties two years ago and returned to the isolated and uninhabited island of Spain.



Diego
Diego is now retired from the breeding program and has been sent back to an uninhabited island to see his days

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Diego’s return to the island was quite a journey, as he is believed to have been captured and kidnapped in the Galápagos in the 1930s, according to Jorge Carrión, director of the Galápagos National Park.

He joined the breeding program when brought from the San Diego Zoo in California, where he remained until 2000.

Diego is now free to roam the island among the hundreds of descendants he helped create to save his species.

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