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Super Diego

Super Diego

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, September 22, 2016/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, sustainability, environment

                                   Galapagos Giant Hooded Tortoise, Diego  (credit: YouTube)

The Galapagos Islands biodiversity, where Charles Darwin developed his understanding of evolution by natural selection, has been impacted by habitat destruction and introduction of non-native invasive species. Since Darwin's time several of the island's famous tortoises, each island evolved its own species, have gone extinct.

In a good example of the success possible for an endangered species using a captive breeding program, a species of Galapagos tortoise was saved by a single breeding male, Diego. He was one of last two males of this species know when he was discovered at the San Diego Zoo and returned to the Galapagos Islands national park. Diego has produced nearly 1000 offspring with the remainng 12 females who were also brought into a protective environment there.

He has become known as Super Diego for saving his species from the same fate that ocurred to several others of his ancient evolutionary lineage.



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