100-year-old playboy tortoise retires after having so much sex to save his species

Photo from The New York Times

A 100-year-old Galapagos giant tortoise named Diego is heading home after living a playboy lifestyle and having so much sex to save his endangered species, according to CNN. He has reportedly fathered some 800 babies.

There a certain point in time when Diego was one of the last two males of the Chelonoidis hoodensis of Espanola Island in the Galapagos. With the captive breeding program that started about half a century ago with the last dozen females of the species, some 2,000 tortoises have been brought back to the island, AFP reported.

With this, Diego is the father of about 800 of them, which means around 40% of their species.

However, apparently, Diego isn’t the most active at all. Another tortoise named E5 fathered the other 60%, according to the New York Times. A third tortoise was introduced in the program but it has fathered none.

Diego lived in the last 30 years in the San Diego Zoo. He is now in quarantine and will be sent back home to Española, per the BBC.

“He’s contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola,” Jorge Carrion, director of Galapagos National Parks, told AFP. “There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state.”

While it might seem like Diego will ease into retirement, the Washington Post reported that he could have a good 20 years or more left, not to mention more in the tank.

He might actually amp it up,” James P. Gibbs, a professor of environmental and forest biology at the State University of New York in Syracuse, told the newspaper. “I don’t know — we shall see.”


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