100-year-old Galapagos giant tortoise managed to save the entire species from extinction

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Native to the islands with the same name, the Galapagos tortoise are the largest tortoise species, weighing up to 900 lb. The species was at the verge of extinction with less than ten individuals left in the wild, in the early 70’s. But all have changed over the years, thanks to Diego, the only male of the species, left in the world.

When realized the species (Chelonoidis hoodensis) is nearly extinct, a group of researchers at the San Diego Zoo, the place where Diego was living at the time, decided to take him back to Espanola island, in order to save the species. And thankfully, he did it.

Since the breeding program started, back in 1976, Diego is responsible with the birth of over 1000 tortoise babies. And what’s more exciting is that his ‘lively libido’ managed to pull the species off the extinction list, Agence France-Press reported.

Weighing around 190 pounds, it is unclear how old Diego is, but according to the experts, he certainly is at least 100 years old. “We don’t know exactly how or when he arrived in the United States. He must have been taken from Espanola sometime between 1900 and 1959 by a scientific expedition,” said Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park.

Right now, the species is no longer facing extinction. Thanks to Diego!