A giant tortoise, who has been credited for saving his species from reaching extinction, has returned to the wild on the Galápagos Islands. Tortoise named Diego was reportedly among 14 males selected to take part in a breeding programme on Santa Cruz Island and has produced more than 2,000 tortoises since it began in the 1960s. As per international reports, Diego's libido has been one of the main reasons for the programme to be successful. The 100-year-old tortoise has fathered hundreds of progeny.
The Galápagos National Parks service (PNG) reportedly said that after the end of the programme, Diego was sent to his native island of Española in March. Now, the giant tortoise will join the 1,800-strong population in which 40 per cent has been fathered by him. Jorge Carrion, the park's director told an international agency that Diego has 'contributed a large percentage to the lineage' which is now being returned to Española.
Carrion further expressed 'feeling of happiness' to have the possibility of returning the tortoise to his 'natural state'. Reportedly, the park believes that Diego was taken from the Galápagos nearly 80 years ago by a scientific expedition. Nearly 50 years ago there were only two males and 12 females of Diego's species alive in Española.
Galápagos Island is a tortoise-rich part of the earth as a species of tortoise which was believed to be extinct was also found in the same area. A living member of the species was not seen alive in more than 110 years and was feared to be extinct has been found in remote areas of the Islands, Fernandina. An adult female, also known as the Fernandina Giant Tortoise, was spotted by a joint expedition of the National Park in the island. Ecuador's Environment Ministry said in a statement that investigators think there is a possibility of more tortoise from the same species. The animal which looked more than a hundred years old was reportedly taken to a breeding centre of giant tortoises.