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(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Diego is set to return to the wild on the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean after fathering around 800 children…

Diego was one of 14 male tortoises selected in the 1960s to take part in a breeding program on Santa Cruz Island in California.

 The program  is ending after producing 2,000 giant tortoises.

 Diego has fathered at least 40% of these animals, the Galápagos National Parks service. Jorge Carrion, the park’s director, told AFP: ‘He’s contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Española.

 The program  is ending after producing 2,000 giant tortoises, and Diego will return to his native island after nearly 80 years away.

 He lived in California’s San Diego Zoo before being called up to the plate to rescue his species. The hero tortoise is currently in quarantine to prevent him from carrying seeds from plants that are not native to his island.