Diego, the giant Galapagos tortoise finally returns home on his native island, Ecuador’s environment minister said.
The tortoise became a hero for almost single-handedly saving his once-threatened species.
Diego lived in Galapagos National Park’s breeding program in Santa Cruz for 87 years. Now, he will now settle in the remote and uninhabited Espanola in Ecuador.
He will settle in the island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with other 14 tortoises.
The 100-year-old Diego, a Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) is famous for fathering an estimated 800 tortoise, in an effort to save his species from extinction.
In the 1960s, the government moved the tortoise from the San Diego Zoo to the National Park . Diego had to save his species nearing extinction due to human hunting and activity.
Tortoises have the attributes for adapting to live without food and water for an entire year. This is the reason sailors take these animals during their long voyages as a fresh source of meat.
Later on, turtle oil becomes a popular commodity, leading to the overhunting of the species since the 1800s.
In a tweet last June 15, Ecuador Environment Minister Paulo Proaño Andrade announced that they will be sent to their native island to continue living in their natural habitat.