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Welcome Home Diego by Tui De Roy (20) More files...
Diego is an old male Española saddleback tortoise, Chelonoidis hoodensis, and his journey is nothing short of extraordinary.  His nickname comes from the four decades he spent at the San Diego Zoo after being taken from his native land by an early 20th century scientific expedition. The Zoo generously him returned to Galapagos in 1977 to join the captive breeding program that was started by the Charles Darwin Research Station, and later expanded by the Galapagos National Park Directorate on Santa Cruz Island. During this time, Diego was an active contributor to the team and was famous for fathering around 40% of the thousands of baby tortoises hatched at the facility for reintroduction to their island of origin.

Over five decades, the breeding colony’s collective efforts helped to repatriate 2,000 tortoise toddlers to Española and reached a state of natural recruitment—meaning enough native-born tortoises make it to reproductive age to continue to sustain the species. They even began to repopulate Santa Fe, as the island’s extinct species were also saddlebacks. Now, at last, Diego is home on Espanola Island having retired from his job with the captive breeding program -  mission accomplished, his species saved.  All he needs is a fruit or spiny pad to fall from the cactus in whose shade he waits for the next rainy season to green up his island once more.
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, i...
00653261
00653261 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, i...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, i...
00653254
00653254 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, i...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...
00653252
00653252 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, w...
00653256
00653256 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, w...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...
00653257
00653257 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, s...  -  Tui De Roy
00445449
00445449 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, s...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred hatchling emerging from egg, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador  -  Tui De Roy
00445451
00445451 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred hatchling emerging from egg, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred young awaiting release back onto their islands of origin, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador  -  Tui De Roy
00445455
00445455 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred young awaiting release back onto their islands of origin, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...
00653258
00653258 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred hatchlings emerging from eggs, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador  -  Tui De Roy
00445453
00445453 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred hatchlings emerging from eggs, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador© Tui De Roy
Galapagos Dove (Zenaida galapagoensis) feeding on cactus, El Caco, Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
00653262
00653262 Galapagos Dove (Zenaida galapagoensis) feeding on cactus, El Caco, Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred young are measured and branded in preparation for release back onto their islands of origin, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador  -  Tui De Roy
00445452
00445452 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred young are measured and branded in preparation for release back onto their islands of origin, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, i...
00653260
00653260 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, i...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...
00653251
00653251 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) female laying eggs in nest, Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
00573094
00573094 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) female laying eggs in nest, Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred young awaiting release back onto its island of origin, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador  -  Tui De Roy
00445446
00445446 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) captive-bred young awaiting release back onto its island of origin, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, s...  -  Tui De Roy
00445450
00445450 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, s...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, f...  -  Tui De Roy
00445448
00445448 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, f...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...
00653253
00653253 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...© Tui De Roy
Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...
00653259
00653259 Saddleback Galapagos Tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) named Diego, an old male returned to the Galapagos from the San Diego Zoo in 1977 and sire of large number of young in captive breeding program, L...© Tui De Roy
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