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After Saving His Entire Species, Giant Tortoise Over A 100 Years Old Retires

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After decades of breeding, a libidinous giant tortoise, Diego, has retired to an isolated island off the coast of Ecuador. Diego recognized for saving his species has permanently retired.

Thought to have hatched on Española Island, one of the Galápagos Islands, around 1920. Diego was captured and transported to the United States sometime between 1928 and 1933 and sent to American zoos.

The Hood Island giant tortoise is a species of Galápagos tortoise restricted to Española Island in the Galápagos, where there were only about 15 left on earth at one time.

Diego is around 100 years old and produced approximately 800 offspring.

In the 1960s, Diego was enlisted into a program to increase the population of the rare tortoises – Chelonoidis hoodensis.

When Diego arrived on the island, there were 12 females and 2 males of his species. Diego is known for the survival of his fellow giant tortoises on Española as he helped boost the population to roughly over 2,000.

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According to The Galapagos National Parks service, around 40% of the population is descendants of Diego. Before that, he lived in San Diego Zoo and was shipped to Galapagos to be part of the breeding plans.

By Peter Wilton – Galápagos tortoiseUploaded by Magnus Manske, CC BY 2.0,

Diego is almost 90cm long, and about 1.5 meters tall stretched from his legs to his neck. Diego weighs around 80kgs.

Around fifteen or more tortoises from Española, including Diego, were shipped out from the Galápagos national park’s breeding program on Santa Cruz, to return to their native uninhabited island Española after breeding in captivity, saving their species from extermination. 

By Peter Wilton

Española welcomed them with open arms, yet before they were taken back, they had to undergo a quarantine period to avoid carrying any seeds from trees and plants that are not native to the islands.

ID 155445839 © Rui Baião |

The Galapagos Islands one of the world’s premier destinations for wildlife viewing, which was made famous by 19th-century English naturalist Charles Darwin’s studies as he worked on the theory of evolution.

The islands, located about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Home to some of the most uncommon and scientifically essential ecosystems on earth, but conservationists are concerned that the islands are under threat from tourism.

ID 155445836 © Rui Baião |

Galapagos tortoises the largest species of the tortoise world. The heaviest recorded weighing over 400 kilograms and measuring around 1.87 meters in length.

ID 168253653 © Burt Johnson |

It is believed that giant tortoise has very slow metabolisms and burn energy at a slower rate. According to this theory, it is what makes tortoises live longer as they burn less energy with their slow metabolisms, which means less damage to the cells in their bodies.

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