100-year-old tortoise which fathered 800 babies praised for saving species single-handedly

Expert praises tortoise who single-handedly saved species from extinction

Diego, who has fathered 800 little ones, is seen here on one of his rare breaks from reproductive duty (Getty)

Friday, September 16, 2016

The randy old tortoise which has fathered a total of 800 babies has been praised for saving his own species from extinction single-handedly. 

Diego, a 100-year-old Galapagos giant tortoise, turned the tide for his species on the island of Espanola in the Galapagos islands, off the coast of South America, through his prolific reproduction rate.

Diego is a Chelonoidis hoodensis, a species of Galapagos tortoise found in the wild only on Espanola. After being moved to the island from a zoo in California, he quickly set about repopulating his land.

Williams, who come from Tortoise South East, an organisation which helps UK owners of the creatures, explained how.

"Tortoises are quite rampant," she told Sam Delaney. " When you have so few individuals left, the only thing you can do is take them to a breeding facility.

"Then you try and breed as many individuals as you can from that particular animal. Diego's done a marvelous job."

Tortoise South East is conducting research into how important tortoises are as pets in the UK. If you are a tortoise owner in the UK, please send any stories and pictures of tortoises you or your family have to them.