Ecuador's Galapagos Islands - 2003

Another lonely fellow is Diego who was returned to the Center by the San Diego Zoo in hopes that he would find a mate in Galapagos. At present he is the only male of his race who is mature enough to breed and the San Diego Zoo had no appropriate brides for him. The Zoo had captured him several years before (probably saving him from becoming a rat’s meal) and they now thought it appropriate to send him back “home.” So now he has a special home as well with females of his own race and the researchers are eagerly hoping that he will take a fancy to one of his corral mates and begin to reproduce. We also saw several breeding females from other islands who are kept separated from their male brethren, except for breeding purposes. The researchers are desirous of having exact genetic records of the offspring of these tortoises so careful records are kept regarding which new turtles came from which pairs. This helps them to preserve genetic “races” but also to vary the gene pool of their captive-bred tortoises.

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