Diego The Tortoise Retires

June 26, 2020
Juvenile Española Tortoises Released on Santa Fe Island
Image credit: © Maud Quinzin / Galapagos Conservancy

In January, we shared a story about an overachieving tortoise named Diego that—no joke—single-handedly saved an entire population of giant Española tortoises! It may be hard to believe, but it’s true! When the folks at the Galapagos National Park asked to borrow Diego the giant Española tortoise from the San Diego Zoo to help with their breeding program, they had no idea how successful it would be. After all, there were only fifteen giant Española tortoises left in the wild and scientists were sure that they would soon become extinct. Diego, it turns out, wasn’t going to let that happen. While in the program, he produced hundreds of offspring. Yep, there are now many many little Diegos crawling around all thanks to papa Diego. As a result of all his hard work (and the work of the other male tortoises in the program), Diego is now able to retire. Earlier this summer, Ecuador’s environment minister, Paulo Proaño Andrade, announced the success of the program and that Diego and fourteen other male tortoises would be retiring and returning home to the uninhabited island of Española, one of the islands of the Galapagos. You’ve done your job, Diego. Now, go enjoy retirement!