It is clear that Lonesome George was, is and will always be an icon in the Galapagos Islands even now that he is deceased.
Maybe Lonesome George was the one to get all the attention in the Islands for being the last of his specie, and all the attempts to mate him with a female, but he was actually not the only Galapagos giant tortoise left. Right next to his enclosed reserve in the Darwin Research Station, Super Diego stands by.
In fact, Super Diego was more of a traveler than George. And he has definitely done more to assure the continuity of his species even at the age of 130 with the 14 females that live in Española.
Back in the 1960´s, Española tortoises were in danger of extinction due to the alien animals introduced by humans that ate its eggs. It was then when the remaining two males and 12 females living in Española were taken to the Charles Darwin Research Station for protection. Diego joined them later after being returned from the San Diego Zoo in 1977.
Together with other 13 Española tortoises, Diego was taken to the San Diego Zoo in the 1930´s. Years after, in the 1970´s, Diego was the only survivor.
Due to the importance of preserving his specie (Chelonoidis hoodensis), Diego was taken back to the Galapagos Islands in 1977. In the Charles Darwin Research Station, Diego rejoined other Española tortoises. There he showed his strong, bossy personality which was an important issue at the time of breeding since he was very possessive with other females. It was needed to separate Diego from the males.
Away from the predators, Diego and his females were able to breed around 1,700 children which were later returned to Española. Diego is the father of around 45% of the tortoises born in the breeding program. Doesn´t he deserve the nickname “Super Diego”? Of course, he does.
Diego has successfully dedicated his life to the survival of his species which is the main difference between Diego and George. Today, the reproduction of Diego´s species is safe as Diego is even a grandfather. And Still, Diego and his 7 female companions contribute to the continuity of the specie.
Diego is the new king of Galapagos and the symbol not only of a resurrected species but also of how dangerous alien species have been to endemic species.