Diego the 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise is set for release after single-handedly saving his species by fathering 800 offspring

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A 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise who single-handedly saved his species by fathering 800 offspring is set for release.

Diego, believed to be taken from the Galapagos Islands, was recruited along with 14 other adults for a captive breeding programme and will be returned to his native island of Espanola in March, the Galapagos National Parks service (PNG) said yesterday.

Diego’s contribution to the program on Santa Cruz Island, Southern California, was particularly noteworthy, with park rangers believing him responsible for being the patriarch of at least 40 percent of their 2,000-tortoise population.

Diego (pictured), a giant 100-year-old tortoise, will be returned to his native island of Espanola in March, after single-handedly saving his species by procreating 800 offspring.

Diego is believed to be responsible for at least 40 percent of the 2,000-tortoise population in the park at Santa Cruz island in Southern California, according to rangers.

Jorge Carrion, the park’s director, said: ‘About 1,800 tortoises have been returned to Espanola and now with natural reproduction we have approximately 2,000 tortoises.

‘This shows that they are able to grow, they are able to reproduce, they are able to develop.’

Around 50 years ago, there were only two males and 12 females of Diego’s species alive on Espanola, and they were too spread out to reproduce. –THE MALAYA POST

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