Published: Tue, January 14, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Galapagos giant tortoise Diego returning home after helping to save species

Galapagos giant tortoise Diego returning home after helping to save species

The productive Galapagos giant tortoise Diego is released after the authorities nearly single-handedly saved it from extinction.

A 100-year-old tortoise named Diego was shipped out of the San Diego Zoo in 1976 as part of a breeding program that started a decade earlier, CNN reports.

Now, 15 of the original adults - 12 females and two males, Diego included - found on the island so many years ago will be released into their natural habitat come March.

The program has been a success, producing more than 2,000 giant tortoises since it began in the 1960s, and the species is no longer facing extinction.

Around 1,800 tortoises have been returned to Espanola, and the current number is a clear indication that "they are able to grow, they are able to reproduce, they are able to develop", Carrion added.

On January 10, the Galapagos National Park, where Diego lived, called off the captive breeding programme.

He was brought to the USA between 1928 and 1933 and placed in a breeding center on the Galapagos island of Santa Cruz, after his species was determined to be critically endangered in the 1960s, according to the San Diego Zoo.

The PNG believes that it was kidnapped by a scientific expedition from the Galapagos Islands in the first half of the 20th century.

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"He's contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola".

Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, became famous for their breathtaking biodiversity through Charles Darwin's studies.

"It is a feeling of happiness to be able to restore this turtle to its natural state".

Diego weighs around 80 kilograms (175 pounds), is almost 90 centimeters (35 inches) long and 1.5 meters (five feet) long, if he really stretches his legs and neck.

A 100-year-old giant tortoise has been credited with saving his species from extinction with his legendary libido.

The islands, 906km west of continental Ecuador, are a Unesco World Heritage site renowned worldwide for their unique array of plants and wildlife, including seals, iguanas, tortoises and birds.

The species is still listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.

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