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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!
This tiny owl is one lucky fella! He was plucked from the branches of the Christmas tree in NYC’s Rockefeller Plaza by one of the workers putting it up. Dubbed Rockefeller, he is now being nursed back to health at the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, and his caretakers are hoping to release him back into the […]
Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission and its Southwest Water Management Division caught a record 2,000 Burmese pythons in Florida’s Everglades in just the first eight months of 2020. The good news is those snakes are gone. The bad news is there are that many Burmese pythons in the Everglades. Check out the cool photos of […]
Normalcy will return to the White House in January — the First Family will again have pets! The Bidens have two dogs, Champ and Major, and now an Instagram account with 60,000 followers, and even their own hashtag #DOTUS. The Obamas had two dogs, Sunny and Bo, and the Bushes had two cats and a […]
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