Tortoise saves subspecies from extinction

Animals and Wildlife

ISLA ESPAÑOLA, Ecuador (CNN) — This playboy tortoise could put the late Hugh Hefner to shame. He got around a lot and played a big role in making sure his subspecies doesn’t go extinct.

His name is Diego and he’s at least 100 years old. His unstoppable libido is credited as a major reason for the survival of his fellow giant tortoises on Espanola on the Galapagos Islands. He was shipped there from the San Diego Zoo as part of a breeding program.

In the 1960’s, there were just two males and 12 females of his species alive on the island. Diego and 14 other male tortoises in the breeding program helped boost the population to more than 2,000. But the Galapagos National Parks Service believes Diego is now the patriarch of about 40% of that population.

With his mission accomplished, Diego is retiring as a stud and is being returned to the wild.

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