There are truly special animals in the world. And it is not only their physical and behavioral characteristics that confirm it, how much what they symbolize for nature and for the species they are part of. It is the case of Diego, a giant tortoise that, at over 100 years of age, has made a fundamental contribution to the survival of its fellows.
Her gift? To have favored the repopulation of the Chelonoidis hoodensis, specimens of turtles characteristic of the islands Galapagos, thanks to participation in a specific program aimed at this purpose.
Before taking part in the restocking initiative, Diego lived in captivity at the San Diego Zoo. From there, he was selected for an important one huge turtle conservation program.
Sull ‘Espanola island, in the marvelous Ecuadorian archipelago of the Galapagos, there were only 2 males and 12 females of its own species. Ever since he left the Californian zoo in 1977, Diego’s great suitor activity has led him to never stop reproducing, literally going to repopulate the island with its children.
The figures are not certain, but the estimates of the experts who monitor the life of these animals have even spoken well 800 specimens whose authorship could be attributed to Diego. In total, since the beginning of the program, about 2000 giant tortoises have come to the world thanks to it.
A far more remarkable result than that recorded by the solitaire George, giant tortoise Chelonoidis abingdonii, which with his death, which occurred in 2012, and the absence of “heirs” unfortunately marked the disappearance of the species.
Diego, with his remarkable libido, managed to balance the entire ecosystem of the island. According to the experts of the Parque Nacional Galapagos, in fact, any scenario, in the next 100 years, would see favorable and sufficient conditions to maintain a population of turtles that will continue to grow on the island.
After over 8 decades in which he gave his species the chance to survive, for Diego the time has come to retire. The restocking program is over, and the giant animal will be able to return to live in the wild. All that remains is to congratulate this real “Casanova“with the shell, which gave great hopes for one of the most delicate and fascinating ecosystems of the entire planet.