Diego the large Galapagos tortoise whose tireless efforts are credited with nearly single-handedly saving his once-threatened species, was put out to pasture Monday on his native island after a long time of breeding in captivity, Ecuador’s surroundings minister stated.
Diego was shipped out from the Galapagos Nationwide Park’s breeding program on Santa Cruz to distant and uninhabited Espanola.
“We’re closing an essential chapter” within the administration of the park, stated the minister Paulo Proano on Twitter, including that 25 tortoises together with the prolific Diego, “are going again residence after a long time of reproducing in captivity and saving their species from extinction.”
Espanola welcomed them “with open arms,” he stated.
Earlier than being taken again by boat to Espanola, the 100-year-old Diego and the opposite tortoises needed to endure a quarantine interval to keep away from them carrying seeds from vegetation that aren’t native to the island.
Diego weighs about 80 kilograms (175 kilos), is almost 90 centimeters (35 inches) lengthy and 1.5 meters (5 toes) tall, if he actually stretches his legs and neck.
Diego’s contribution to this system on Santa Cruz Island was significantly noteworthy, with park rangers believing him accountable for being the patriarch of not less than 40 p.c of the two,000-tortoise inhabitants.
Round 50 years in the past, there have been solely two males and 12 females of Diego’s species alive on Espanola, and so they had been too unfold out to breed.
Diego was introduced in from California’s San Diego Zoo to hitch the breeding program which was arrange within the mid-1960s to save lots of his species, Chelonoidis hoodensis.
The Nationwide Park believes he was taken from the Galapagos within the first half of the 20th century by a scientific expedition.
Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, situated within the Pacific Ocean, had been made well-known by 19th Century English naturalist Charles Darwin’s research of their breathtaking biodiversity.
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