A giant tortoise called Diego who had such an uncontrollable sex drive he may well have reproduced his species back from the brink of extinction is set to retire.
The master of seduction was hailed as a saviour by conservationists at the San Diego Zoo half a century ago before they loaned him to a team aiming to boost the tortoise population of the island of Espanola, in the Galapagos Islands.
The island had just two other males and a dozen females.
It would have been a tall order for even the most dedicated and desirable tortoise but fortunately – and despite being 100 years old – Diego is both.
He was just one of 15 males to take part in the breeding programme on Santa Cruz Island, but Diego was by far the most effective.
Espanola’s population has now rocketed to include over 1,800 of the giant tortoise species known as Chelonoidis hoodensis and Diego is the patriarch of approximately 800 of them.
The director of the Galapagos National Parks (GNP) service, Jorge Carrion, told AFP: “He’s contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola.
“There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state.”
Diego will now be freed from captivity and allowed to return to the wild of Esponalo, alongside his progeny, to eat leaves and potentially have a bit more sex.
According to the GNP, Diego was probably first taken from the Galapagos 80 years ago by scientists on an expedition.