Sunday 26 January 2020

My work here is done! Diego the 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise is set for release after single-handedly saving his species by fathering 800 offspring - via Herp Digest

  • Diego, a 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise, will be returned to Espanola in March
  • The giant tortoise was recruited with 14 adults in a captive breeding programme 

  • Park rangers believe he was patriarch of at least 40% of their tortoise population

  • Diego will return to his native island 'almost eight decades' after being extracted

January 11, 2020 

A 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise who single-handedly saved his species by fathering 800 offspring is set for release.

Diego, believed to be taken from the Galapagos Islands, was recruited along with 14 other adults for a captive breeding programme and will be returned to his native island of Espanola in March, the Galapagos National Parks service (PNG) said yesterday.

Diego's contribution to the program on Santa Cruz Island, Southern California, was particularly noteworthy, with park rangers believing him responsible for being the patriarch of at least 40 percent of their 2,000-tortoise population. 

Diego is believed to be responsible for at least 40 percent of the 2,000-tortoise population in the park at Santa Cruz island in Southern California, according to rangers”

'Super' tortoise Diego has fathered more than 1,000 babies

'This shows that they are able to grow, they are able to reproduce, they are able to develop.' 

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.

Diego was brought in from California's San Diego Zoo to join the breeding program which was set up in the mid-1960s to save his species, Chelonoidis hoodensis.

The PNG believes he was taken from the Galapagos in the first half of the 20th century by a scientific expedition.

Now, Diego is returning to his original home 'almost eight decades after being extracted,' the park service said, adding that he had lived at the San Diego Zoo for several decades.
Mr Carrion said: 'He's contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola.

'There's a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state.’

Diego weighs about 80kg, is nearly 90cm long and 1.5m tall, if he really stretches his legs and neck.

Before being returned to Espanola, tortoises must go through a quarantine period to avoid carrying seeds from plants that are not native to the island.

Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, were made famous by Charles Darwin's studies of their breathtaking biodiversity.

The story of Diego's prowess contrasts with that of Lonesome George, a different type of Galapagos giant tortoise, who had refused for years to breed in captivity.

Hopes for his species, Chelonoidis abingdoni, faded when Lonesome George passed away in 2012 at more than 100 years old.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails