Meet Super Diego, nature's most virile lover.
Super Diego, who is more than 100 years old, is almost solely responsible for bringing his own subspecies, the saddle-backed Espanola tortoise, back from the brink of extinction. With 12 females to mate with, this rampant tortoise is believed to have fathered an estimated 1,700 baby tortoises since being introduced to a crucial breeding programme on the remote Galapagos Islands.
Super Diego had been living in a zoo in
San Diego, California, when he was picked to join the breeding programme. At the time there were just 14 Espanola tortoises left in the world, 12 of them females. It is believed that he brought a healthy genetic strain to the threatened population and his contribution is hailed as helping restore the threatened species.
I painted this portrait of the rampant giant tortoise after visiting The Galapagos Islands in 2014. This spring I am due to return to the Pacific archipelago and will be leading a guided tour of the unique wildlife there. If you are interested in joining this chartered luxury cruise around the islands please follow this link to my website for details.
You can see this painting at my gallery alongside a collection of other paintings that celebrate animal courtship on Valentine's Day.