The Individual Can Still Matter–How Diego “Saved His Species”

(p. 1) Diego has fathered hundreds of progeny — 350 by conservative counts, some 800 by more imaginative estimates. Whatever the figure, it is welcome news for his species, Chelonoidis hoodensis, which was stumbling toward extinction in the 1970s. Barely more than a dozen of his kin were left then, most of them female.
Then came Diego, returned to the Galápagos in 1977 from the San Diego Zoo.
“He’ll keep reproducing until death,” said Freddy Villalva, who watches over Diego and many of his descendants at a breeding center at this research facility, situated on a rocky volcanic shoreline. The tortoises typically live more than 100 years.
. . .
(p. 7) Diego, and his offspring, are part of one of the most high-profile efforts to keep Galápagos tortoise populations thriving. The tortoise, estimated to be perhaps a century old, is one of the main drivers of a remarkable recovery of the hoodensis species — now more than 1,000 strong on their native island of Española, one of the dozen Galápagos islands.

For the full story, see:
NICHOLAS CASEY. “Meet Diego, a Giant (and Prolific) Tortoise Who Saved His Species.” The New York Times, First Section (Sun., MARCH 12, 2017): 1 & 7.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date MARCH 11, 2017, and has the title “Meet Diego, the Centenarian Whose Sex Drive Saved His Species.”)

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