A 100-year old tortoise in the Galapagos Islands is responsible for having so much sex that he saved his species.
Diego, a Galapagos giant tortoise, is the proud father of over 800 little babies. His offspring are the reason why his species of Galapagos giant tortoise is not extinct.
He lives on the island of Espanola, which is the southernmost in the Galapagos Archipelago. After conducting a genetic test, scientists found that over 40% of all tortoises on Espanola can count Diego as their father.
“He’s a very sexually active male reproducer. He’s contributed enormously to repopulating the island,” said Washington Tapia, a preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park.
Tortoise A Model Tortoise for Other Endangered Species
The randy centenarian is a Chelonoidis hoodensis, a species of tortoise only found in the wild on Espanola.
The island is one of the oldest in the Galapagos, a Pacific chain made famous by Charles Darwin and his studies on its biodiversity, which occurred prior to writing about natural selection.
50 years ago, there were only two males and 12 females of Diego’s species in the wild on Espanola, and they were too far apart to reproduce.
Diego has gone on a wild and randy womanizing spree, spreading his seed to the corners of Espanola. He has done more than any other tortoise to turn around the population decline and bring his species back from extinction.
The spry 100-year old lives at a breeding center on Santa Cruz Island, which is one of the largest in the archipelago.
As the dominant male of three assigned to repopulate Espanola, he shares an enclosure with six beautiful female tortoises, who are tasked with the ultimate challenge: repopulate the species.
There have been 15 species of giant tortoise on the Galapagos Islands, of which three have gone totally extinct, due in large part to the 18th-century pirates who destroyed the ecosystem with their pirate antics.
Not all species like to breed in captivity, however. Lonesome George, last of his kind, died in 2012 after years of refusing to get it on with any females.