July 8, 2020 by No Comments

Good news! Diego, the tortoise tasked with almost single-handedly saving his species has retired after over 50 years in service. In the mid 1960s Diego was moved from the San Diego Zoo to Galapagos National Park to participate in a breeding program meant to save his species from extinction. His species, C. Hoodensis, experienced a drastic decline in population to an estimated 14 adults in the 1960s, only two of which were male. Diego is responsible for an estimated 800 of the current 2000 C. Hoodensis in existence, resulting in a lineage of 40% of the total population. 

Why is this good?

Unfortunately, the catastrophic reduction in Diego’s species was largely due to human interaction and over-hunting. One attractive quality of the tortoise is that it can survive for up to a year without food or water. This is an ideal companion on a long trip – a source of food that will not spoil. It is also through human intervention that we allowed Diego’s libido to provide a resurgence to the population, as he was moved to a breeding program with other surviving members of his species. With the tortoise population approaching pre-interaction numbers, we can allow Diego to finally retire to his new life on the uninhabited island of Espanola. Happy retirement Diego, you’ve earned it. 

See Diego below:

Source:  The Guardian Full Story
Presse, Agence-France, The Guardian. “Diego the tortoise, father to hundreds and saviour of his species, finally retires ” 15 June 2020