Diego the tortoise may be over a 100 years old, but he’s still a ladies’ man.
Still quite sexually active, the Galapagos giant tortoise may be subconsciously reproducing to save his species from extinction. Diego has fathered an estimated 800 offspring, according to AFP.
“He’s a very sexually active male reproducer. He’s contributed enormously to repopulating the island,” said Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park.
Formally residing within the San Diego Zoo, Diego now lives at a tortoise breeding center on Santa Cruz Island, one of the largest in the Galapagos. Sharing his enclosure with six females, he is the dominant male of three assigned to repopulate in Espanola.
Diego weighs about 80 kilograms (175 pounds), is nearly 90 centimeters (35 inches) long and is 1.5 meters (five feet) tall if he really stretches his legs and neck.
“We did a genetic study and we discovered that he was the father of nearly 40 percent of the offspring released into the wild on Espanola,” said Tapia.
Diego’s efforts haven’t only made him a star player among female tortoises, but social media users seem to be proud by his work.
In total, around 2,000 tortoises have now been released onto the small island and the species is no longer facing extinction.
“I wouldn’t say (the species) is in perfect health because historical records show there probably used to be more than 5,000 tortoises on the island. But it’s a population that’s in pretty good shape — and growing, which is the most important,” said Tapia.