The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
100-Year-Old Tortoise Fathers 800 Offspring in Fight to Save Species
He may be well over 100 years old, but Diego the Tortoise still has plenty of charm and he's using it to ensure that his species lives on.
The giant Galapagos tortoise has been "working" since the 1960s—when there were only 14 wild tortoises, two of which were male, left on Española—to save his native species from the brink of extinction. And he's doing an impressive job.
Based on recent genetic studies, Diego has single-handedly fathered an estimated 800 offspring—40 percent of the 2,000 captive-bred tortoises that have since been released into the wild.
"He's a very sexually active male reproducer. He's contributed enormously to repopulating the island," tortoise preservation specialist, Washington Tapia, from the Galapagos National Park, told the AFP.
Scientists say Diego is the dominant male of the three assigned to repopulate the island, and weighs about 175 pounds, is nearly 35 inches long and 5 feet tall.
While most of Diego's history remains a mystery, scientists do know he was discovered at the San Diego Zoo in the 1950s. After being located at the zoo, Diego was brought back to the Galapagos in 1976 and put in the captive breeding program, AFP reported. He currently lives at a tortoise breeding center on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, where he and six females share an enclosure.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
It's become a familiar story with the Trump administration: Scientists write a report that shows the administration's policies will cause environmental damage, then the administration buries the report and fires the scientists.
By Jake Johnson
Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the U.S. and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled today a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.
The Parties to CITES agreed to list giraffes on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) today at the World Wildlife Conference or CoP18 in Geneva. Such protections will ensure that all giraffe parts trade were legally acquired and not sourced from the poached giraffes trade and will require countries to make non-detriment findings before allowing giraffe exports. The listing will also enable the collection of international trade data for giraffes that might justify greater protections at both CITES and other venues in the future.
The WHO stressed that more research is needed on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion. luchschen / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The UN's health agency on Thursday said that microplastics contained in drinking water posed a "low" risk at their current levels.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) — in its first report on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion — also stressed more research was needed to reassure consumers.