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100-Year-Old Playboy Tortoise Retires To The Wild After Saving His Entire Species

Caitlyn Clancey 12 Jan 2020

A 100-year-old tortoise named Diego is heading into the world of retirement after using his impressive libido to help save his species from extinction, CNN reported.

Diego first began the promiscuous campaign to ensure the survival of Española tortoises back in the late '70s, and his incredible sex drive has turned this stud of a reptile into a living legend.

Back in 1977, there were only two male and 14 female Española tortoises left alive on the Galápagos Islands.

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At this point in his life, Diego was enjoying a comfortable stay at the San Diego Zoo. Experts believe he was actually born on the Galápagos island of Española before being brought to America in the 1950s by a scientific expedition.

As happy as he was in the states, Diego's efforts, so to speak, were needed elsewhere, and he was soon jetted off to the island to take part in a crucial breeding program.

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Diego was one of 14 tortoises handpicked from around the world to combat the species' extinction.

Before long, the program was able to boost the giant tortoise population to 2,000, with the Galapagos National Parks service estimating Diego was personally responsible for about 40 percent of that number.

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To put that into perspective, experts estimate he fathered somewhere around 800 eggs.

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"He's a very sexually active male reproducer," Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galápagos National Park, said. "He's contributed enormously to repopulating the island."

To say this ladies man has earned his retirement is a serious understatement.

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Thanks to Diego's seemingly insatiable sex drive, his species is no longer facing extinction.

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And now that the lengthy, successful breeding program has come to a close, Diego is giving up his playboy life and settling down in the wild, surrounded by his lady companions and the new flourishing population of fellow tortoises he helped create.

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Although Diego's species has come back from the brink of extinction, other giant tortoises haven't fared so well.


Of the 15 species known to have originated in the Galápagos, three have gone extinct, thanks to 18th-century pirates who plundered the islands' fragile ecosystem.

Most recently, the Chelonoidis abingdoni species went extinct in 2012 after its last-known survivor, tragically known as Lonesome George, died.

h/t: CNN

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