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Diego the giant Galapagos tortoise. Image: Galapagos National Park
There’s no summing up CNN’s reporting on this story, you have to read for yourself:
“A womanizing tortoise whose rampant sex life may have single-handedly saved his entire species from extinction has retired from his playboy lifestyle, returning to the wild with his mission accomplished.”
The playboy in the story is Diego, the giant Galapagos tortoise who, at over 100 years old, has fathered 40% of all tortoises on Espanola Island in the Galapagos through an astoundingly successful captive breeding program.
Mission Complete: In their press release, Ecuador’s Environmental Ministry decided to end the 40-year captive breeding program for Española tortoises following an ecological evaluation of Española Island, conducted by the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and Galapagos Conservancy as part of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI).
Professor James P. Gibbs of SUNY Syracuse says Diego has “a big personality — quite aggressive, active and vocal in his mating habits and so I think he has gotten most of the attention.”
Why This Matters: Giant Galapagos tortoises can live to be 120 years old and because of human activity were nearly wiped out. In fact, the Galapagos Islands themselves were named after tortoise shells found on the islands and these fascinating animals are a keystone species that help keep the Galapagos ecosystem in balance. Their breeding program is an important success story as we work to protect and enhance biodiversity on our planet.
Go Deeper: As we’re nearing Valentines Day, Diego’s isn’t the only animal love story to make headlines. Get to know these parrot paramours and how their love may have resulted in a new species!
By Beth Allgood, U.S. Country Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare It’s often said that dogs are man’s best friend. This common phrase may seem simple to most, but it holds a very important lesson: animals are important to human wellbeing. IFAW’s newest report, Animals are Key to Human Development: A Guidebook for Incorporating Conservation […]
Park Rangers at National Parks that have been closed for many weeks have observed things they had never seen before. For example, pronghorn antelope in the sun-scorched lowlands of Death Valley National Park, and at Yosemite, with traffic a distant memory, deer, bobcats, and black bears have made their way into Yosemite Valley and are […]
The New York Times reported over the weekend that Georgia has yet another problem besides continuing increases in COVID patients. An invasive South American exotic lizard species has made its way to Georgia where it is now threatening native wildlife because, according to state Fish & Game officials, they can eat whatever they want (insert […]
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