Diego, the 100-year-old Española tortoise, is being released back into the wild after fathering 800 tortoise babies and helping restore his species on Española Island in the Galapagos.

It all started as part of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative when the Española tortoise population was down to 15.

With Diego's help the initiative's captive breeding program was able to bring the population up to 2,000 tortoises with 40% of them estimated as to be his blood relatives.

Now a population that only had 15 creatures remaining has 15 breeding adults and more on the way.

The program is now coming to a close after 40 years which may make you think "what took them so long?" but think about it...they're tortoises, they're not exactly known for speed!

We may not have Española tortoises nearby but if you would like to see these big shells of love you can check out the Sulcata tortoise at Potter Park Zoo, Grand Rapids' John Ball Zoo's Forsten's Tortoise project, or Binder Park Zoo's Aldabra Giant Tortoise and Gopher Tortoise.

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