Diego, the giant tortoise of the Española Island that lived in the US and that after his return to the Ecuadorian Galapagos Islands helped to save his species by procreating 800 children, will return this 2020 to his habitat. His release is scheduled for next March, once the conditions of the habitat and the population of tortoises on the Española Island have been recovered.
Arid, small and easily accessible, the Española Island, located in the southeast of the archipelago, years ago lost almost all the tortoises mainly due to pirates
In the past, the archipelago was a refuge for pirates and whalers who supplied food on the site and took giant turtles on their boats that could “survive for up to a year, or even longer, without eating or drinking.” Over the years, they managed to take fourteen turtles to the breeding center on Santa Cruz Island and repatriate Diego from a zoo in San Diego, where he was taken in the thirties.
In Española there are several animals, such as iguanas and sea lions, boobies but the presence of tortoises is essential for the survival of other species, such as albatrosses. These birds require special characteristics to land or take off and, it is precisely the turtles that open paths.
In 1976 Diego participated in a breeding program for shell tortoises. At the moment, Diego is in “good health.”
With Diego’s return to his habitat, the Española Island captive breeding program concludes and now it will be nature that guides those tortoises in the Galapagos.
Source: El Comercio.com