In 1976, the Galapagos giant tortoises were in dire straits – the reptiles had become prey to other animals and their habitat was mostly wiped out. Only 12 female and 2 male tortoises remained on the island.
Meanwhile, Diego from the San Diego Zoo in California, was being flown in to try and save the species.
He may now be 100 years old, but this grandpa’s got game.
Since his return to the Galapagos Islands fifty years ago, this philandering reptile has basically repopulated the entire island of Espanola by siring over 800 offspring, thus guaranteeing the survival of the endangered creatures.
Diego weighs 125 pounds and measures 5 feet long. He lives on Santa Cruz island in a tortoise-breeding center with six other female mates, spending his days… working his magic.
Espanola, the island unique to the Chelonoidis hoodensis species, is now home to over 2,000 of the tortoises. Though records say it used to shelter 5,000, it’s still an extraordinary comeback for an animal that was facing extinction.