Wild

Giant tortoise who helped save his species goes home to retire

June 30th, 2020

Almost every day, we hear news of a species going extinct, but what are the reasons why a lot of animal species are facing the threat of extinction? Back in the Cretaceous period, it was an asteroid that wiped out all the dinosaurs. However, today, all we hear about is humans causing animals to go extinct because of acts of poaching, destroying countless animals’ habitat, and pollution.

There are a lot of animal species facing the threat of extinction, and one of them is the giant tortoise.

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Giant tortoises are one of the many species facing extinction. It was even believed that the tortoise subspecies Chelonoidis Abingdon became officially extinct after the death of the Lonesome George, the last male tortoise of the species. However, they found hope for the giant tortoises on the Galapagos Island.

The comeback of the giant tortoises from the face of extinction.

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In the 1970s, the total tortoise population on Galapagos Islands was fewer than 15; two males and 12 females were confirmed upon investigation. Chelonoidis hoodensis was the subspecies that was reported to be found on the island, and one of those tortoises was Diego. In 1976, the tortoise was taken to a breeding center on the island.

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The tortoise reportedly has fathered an estimate of 800 offspring on the Galapagos Island, bringing hope to his species.

“We did a genetic study and we discovered that he was the father of nearly 40 percent of the offspring released into the wild on Espanola,” Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park, told the AFP, a global news agency.

More than 2,000 tortoises were recorded on Santa Cruz Island and it was Diego who contributed a large part to the repopulation program. He was even hilariously dubbed as the sex-machine of the species for his reproduction efforts.

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Now, the tortoise is probably enjoying his relaxation time as he finally retires after decades in the breeding center.

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The more than a hundred-year-old Diego was part of the Galapagos Island breeding program for more than 80 years, and just recently, the tortoise finally retired and was returned to the Galapagos Archipelago. Now, the gigantic tortoise will probably live the remainder of his life with the others who were released with him.

“There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state,” Jorge Carrion, the director of the Galapagos National Parks, told France24.

Diego and Lonesome George’s stories were a huge contrast.

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It was all nothing but sad hearing the news about Lonesome George’s death. During his time of breeding captivity, the Pinta Giant tortoise bore nothing. When Lonesome George died of natural causes, he became the symbol of Galapagos Island’s failed efforts of bringing their subspecies back. Thankfully, Diego was able to repopulate his species and he was the key to bringing hope back for the giant tortoises.

With over 2,000 tortoises, surely the population will increase over time.

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Diego and the other tortoise deserved this permanent break, and now, let’s let them enjoy their retirement in their home. Do not forget to share this wonderful news with everyone, and click the link below to watch the whole thing.

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Savior of species

The world's most famous giant tortoise – Diego – returned to the Galapagos archipelago after siring 800 babies and saving his species from extinction

Posted by RT on Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Source: Facebook/RTNews, usatoday.com, newsweek.com

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