April 6, 2020 | 2:41 PM IST
giant tortoise

Giant tortoise saves species by fathering over 800 babies

A giant tortoise from Santa Cruz Island in California has fathered about 800 babies and thus, saved its species from getting extinct. The tortoise, named Diego, is over 100 years of age and was chosen by Ecuador’s Environmental Ministry’s special breeding programme, Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI), in the 1960s.

The ministry undertook this special drive when only two males and 12 female tortoises of the Chelonoidis hoodensis species were left on Espanola Island. Today there are over 2000 baby tortoises and 800 (40 percent) are his progenies. Diego has been living in Galapagos National Parks’ San Diego zoo and will soon return to the wild.

The park’s director Jorge Carrion said, “About 1,800 tortoises have been returned to Espanola, and now with natural reproduction, we have approximately 2,000 tortoises. They are able to grow, reproduce and develop.
Greetings are pouring in from all quarters for Diego for having played a major role in saving the extinct species.

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