Diego-The Giant Tortoise
- 14 Jan 2020
- 2 min read
Why in News
Recently, Diego (Chelonoidis hoodensis, or the giant tortoise species) has retired from the captive breeding programme in the Galapagos National Park, Ecuador.
- He will be returned to Española Island, from where he was taken around 80 years ago.
- Diego is 100 years old and joined the breeding programme in 1976.
- The tortoise population has since gone up from 15 to 2,000.
- He is responsible for about 40% of the offspring produced.
- Another male tortoise ‘E5’ has generated about 60% offspring.
- Diego has a long leathery neck, dull-yellow face and beady eyes. Fully stretched out, he extends to about five feet and weighs about 176 pounds.
- The long neck is critical for his species’ survival, helping the tortoises crane their necks to feed on cacti.
- Tortoises on the Galápagos Islands served as an excellent source of food for seafarers in the 1800s so a large number were picked up from the islands.
- Feral goats on the islands posed another danger, competing for food, destroying the tortoises’ habitat.
- IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered
Galápagos National Park
- It was created in 1959 and it was the first national park of Ecuador.
- The Galápagos Islands were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.