The Galapagos tortoises were once on the brink of extinction. About 50 years ago, there were only two males and 12 females found in their native island Española.
To combat extinction, Diego, from the Chelonoidis hoodensis species, who was in captivity and 14 other tortoises from Española were brought to Santa Cruz island to take part in a breeding program. It is said that Diego, a 100-year-old tortoise, had an exceptional sex drive which made him the father of almost 800 little tortoises!
We’re all about giving credit where it’s due and the six females sharing Diego’s enclosure played a big part in battling extinction as well! We’re sure they’re proud mummies! The researchers at the centre said that the other male tortoises were not as big of a playboy like Diego. In fact, getting animals to mate in captivity has proven to be quite difficult. In regards to saving the species, Diego proves to be the perfect candidate.
Now that there are about 2,000 tortoises in Española, Diego and the other tortoises’ work is done. These tortoises will soon be brought back to their home to enjoy their retirement life. However, they will have to be quarantined first as the researchers are being careful. This is to prevent them from carrying seeds from plants that are not native to the island. They were also given piggyback rides for the same reason.
Ecuador’s environment minister, Paulo Proaño Andrade, said the breeding programme was “closing an important chapter” in its history. He also mentioned that Española welcomes the tortoises “with open arms”.
That is certainly a joyful piece of news! What do you think about it? Tell us in the comments!
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