Giant Tortoise Who Saved His Species by Having Tons of Sex Is Finally Throwing in the Towel

Right after I took a job here at Thrillist I read a piece another staff writer had written called "This Tortoise Fucks." It was the story of Diego, a giant tortoise whose reproductive organs played an essential role in the repopulation of his species on the Galápagos Island of Española. At that moment, I realized my journalism career would never be as influential as the thrusting of a horny, land-dwelling reptile but that, when the time came for someone to continue his story, I'd fight for the honor to tell it. Now is my chance. 

Diego, the slow-walking sperm bank reptile of Española, is finally retiring. According to ABC News, Diego was “brought to the US between 1928 and 1933" and was entered into breeding programs. He subsequently bopped around, from the San Diego Zoo to Ecuador’s Charles Darwin Research Station. Then, last week, Ecuador's Environmental Ministry called the whole thing off. 

“He's a very sexually active male reproducer," Washington Tapia, a tortoise coitus specialist at Galapagos National Park, once told the AFP. This was two years ago, so one can assume he still has some tricks in the bag. And is the species still endangered? Yeah. But, according to the Galapagos Conservancy, the island's current ecosystems wouldn't support any growth in the tortoise population if Diego were to stay employed as king shell-smasher. 

San Diego Zoo officials told ABC News that during Daddy Diego's tenure, the population grew from 15 to 2,000 tortoises, and Diego is responsible for about 40% of that growth. Suffice it to say that he's probably forgetting a lot of middle kids' birthdays.

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.