One would witness a plethora of exotic animals upon visiting the renowned Galápagos Islands, one of which might be the Galápagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis). These massive shelled reptiles were almost on the brink of extinction, that is, until one male specimen named Diego stepped up to the plate.
Image Credit: Pixabay
Diego was just one of 14 male Galápagos giant tortoises enlisted for a captive breeding program in the 1960s that was designed to save the species from going extinct, but it wasn’t long after the program kicked off that he developed quite the reputation for his rather restless libido.
This particular breeding program was responsible for producing well over 2,000 giant tortoises, many of which were placed back in their natural habitat in the Galápagos to boost conservation. Excellent news indeed; but the real kicker here is that out of those 2,000 offspring, Diego alone fathered about 800. The remaining 1,200 were produced with the help of the other 13 males.
To say that Diego was smooth with the ladies would be an understatement, and while he certainly seems to have a legendary libido, he’s also being almost single-handedly credited with saving his species from the cusp of extinction.
Diego is now estimated to be approximately 100 years old, and since he has more than fulfilled his service to the captive breeding program, he is officially being returned to the Galápagos Islands from whence he came.
"He's contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Española," explained Jorge Carrion, the director of the Galápagos National Parks service. "There's a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state."
When Diego returns to the Galápagos, he will join an existing population of giant tortoises. Perhaps the most significant question, however, is whether Diego will keep up his libido streak with the native population on the island when he returns or if he will finally take a rest from all the tireless mating. Only time will tell…