A man carries a giant tortoise strapped to his back.

Galapagos National Park

Getting a Lift Home

A giant tortoise named Diego recently went “back” to the wild.

He was born on Española, one of the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. In the 1930s, Diego was taken to live in a zoo in California.

Galapagos National Park

Diego weighs about 175 pounds.

By 1970, only 14 tortoises like Diego were left in the wild. To save the species, scientists started a breeding program on an island close to Española. They brought Diego there to help. The program was a success, and the population of Española tortoises is now about 2,000!

Last June, the grateful scientists returned Diego to Española. Once there, a park ranger carried him with a special backpack 1.5 miles to his native habitat. After 87 years, Diego was back home.