Diego The Tortoise Saves Species

What Diego Did To Save His Species

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A picture of Diego the tortoise.

Kireen Mcrill , Staff Writer

Diego the tortoise is  a rare breed called the Giant Tortoise, there were only 2 male, 12 female, and Diego.  Diego was transferred from the San Diego Zoo to the Galapagos Islands, where he was a part of a breeding program. The breeding program Diego was in had started in 1965 for turtles, specifically to the tortoises on Pinzon Island.

Fox News claims, “Ecuadors environmental ministry made the decision on Friday to wend the 40-year captive breeding program for Espanola tortoises which has helped the population rise from 15  to 2,000.” Diegos unstoppable libido was credited as a major reason for the survival of his fellow species. New York Times states, “Paternity tests indicate that Diego is responsible for about 40 percent of the offspring produced.”

The giant tortoises had originally became extinct because they were hunted for food by pirates, whalers, and merchantmen through the 17th, 18th, and 19th century.  National Geographic claims that the hunters killed up to 100,000 tortoises. The Galapagos tortoises are most likely found on the Galapagos islands or on the island of Espanola. CNN claims, “The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s premier destinations for wildlife viewing, and were visited by Charles Darwin as he worked on the theory of evolution.” The giant tortoises are the most famous of the reptile species. The American Museum of  Natural History  says ,  “Darwin began to wonder if species from South America had reached the Galapagos and then changed as they adapted to new environments. This idea—that species could change over time—eventually led to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.”

The giant tortoises have two different types of shells, the first one is the saddleback shell. The saddleback shell is to help the tortoises reach up higher on trees and easier movement for their neck. The second type of shell is the dome shaped shell, which is to help the turtle keep their neck safe and so they don’t have to reach higher, the opposite of the saddleback shell.  These both have helped the Galapagos tortoises stay alive before Diego had saved their species, Diego has a saddleback shell. The protections of each shell are different but they are very helpful, the Galapagos is very warm and the shells help to keep the turtles safe from all different sorts of heat and cold.