Things That Matter

Diego, The 100-Year-Old Giant Tortoise Who Fathered Nearly 1,000 Offspring Is Going Into Retirement

After 40 years of giving his all for a good cause, Diego the tortoise is getting to do what so many of us dream of – he’s heading into retirement. Diego, noted for his next level sex drive, is credited with fathering enough baby tortoises to bring his species back from the brink of extinction. 

Diego, who is more than 100 years old, boosted his species’ population from just 15 to well over 2,000 on the island of Española, a part of the world-famous Galápagos Islands. He had been shipped over from the San Diego Zoo as part of a breeding program, and was one of 15 tortoises to take part in the program at the Fausto Llerena Tortoise Center on the island of Santa Cruz. Now he’ll finally be returning to his island of origin. Mission accomplished.

The Galápagos National Park has announced it is ending a captive breeding program for giant Española tortoises, after one tortoise produced more than 800 offspring, helping save the species.

Credit: Rodrigo Buendía / Getty

A giant tortoise whose rampant sex life may have single-handedly saved his entire species from extinction has retired from his playboy lifestyle, returning to the wild with his mission accomplished.

Diego’s unmatched libido was credited as a major reason for the survival of his fellow giant tortoises on Española Island, part of the Galapagos Islands, after being shipped over from the San Diego Zoo as part of a breeding program.

It’s been nearly eight decades since Diego was extracted from his natural habitat. With his mission accomplished, he will now be released into the wilderness on the island where he was born.

When he started his campaign of promiscuity, there were just two males and 12 females of his species alive on the island.

Credit: Rodrigo Buendía / Getty

But the desirable shell-dweller had so much sex he helped boost the population to over 2,000. The Galapagos National Parks service believe the 100-year-old tortoise is the patriarch of around 40% of that population

The program started with only two male tortoises until a third, named Diego, was found in the San Diego Zoo. He had lived in the zoo for about 30 years before joining the breeding program on the Galápagos’ Santa Cruz island. Diego, now over 100 years old, had a big impact on the program; he has a strong personality and isn’t shy about sex, which earned him a reputation online. Now, he and the 14 other tortoises in the breeding program are preparing to return home.

“He’s contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola,” Jorge Carrion, the park’s director, told AFP. “There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state.”

The recovery of the Española tortoises has been a decades-long battle.

Credit: Galapagos National Park

The giant tortoises were depleted from the island, hunted by sailors, whalers, and pirates for food, and goats were introduced. So before young tortoises could be restored on the island, conservationists had to contend with goats between the 1970’s and 1990’s. But cohorts of young turtles were released once or twice each year, with a survival rate of over 50 percent. By 2010, tortoises were once again a common sight on the island, Rory Carroll reported at the time for the Guardian

“During the expedition we found nests, recently hatched tortoises, and adults born on Española, which indicates that the tortoise population is doing well,” Washington Tapia, director of the Galápagos Tortoise Restoration Initiative, told Carroll in 2010.

The decision to end the breeding program comes after the 2019 census of Española island. The census and models of the next 100 years of tortoise population on the island found that “the island has sufficient conditions to maintain the tortoise population, which will continue to grow normally — even without any new repatriation of juveniles,” Tapia, said per a translation of the original statement.

This ULTA Employee Showed How Returned Products Are Handled And The Whole Thing Is Truly Eye-Opening

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This ULTA Employee Showed How Returned Products Are Handled And The Whole Thing Is Truly Eye-Opening

@biancaann5

No judgment but let’s be real. We’ve all been in the scenario where we’ve let loose at a makeup counter. You know, gone a little overboard with shopping, regretted a few purchases and then decided to take them back. Most stores like ULTA, Sephora, and Nordstrom have pretty great return policies when it comes to buyer’s remorse and so it never seems like too big of a deal when we show up the next day or even a few weeks later with our receipts and the items we no longer want.

But recently, an employee from ULTA revealed what happens after you’ve walked away from the return counter at a beauty supply store. And TBH it ain’t pretty.

Bianca Ann Levinson, who posts under @biancaann5 on TikTok, went viral after revealing how ULTA handles returns.

In the video posted to her TikTok, Levinson shows herself “damaging out” products of palettes and concealer tubes and dumping them into the trash. “This is what we have to do so that people don’t dumpster dive and steal it,” Bianca says in the video.

According to Levinson, her decision to post how the company handles returns wasn’t. mean to shame the company but shed light on returns to buyers.  “I don’t want people to come for Ulta and stop going at all. I want people to know that stores like Sephora, Bath and Body Works, Target, Walmart and many others all have to do the same, too,” Levinson explained to Buzzfeed in an interview.

At first glance, the process of damaging out is clearly extremely wasteful but it all chalks up to hygiene and scams.

As Levine points out in another TikTok, damaging out is done in the name of avoiding cross-contamination. Particularly in this time of the coronavirus pandemic. What’s more, Levine says the practice is done to avoid having dumpster divers try to sell products they find in the trash online. “If someone sells product out of the trash, it opens up the chance of someone getting sick or an infection and possibly suing Ulta,” Levine explained to Buzzfeed. “We can’t donate for the same reason. Most brands don’t allow it either. Ulta cares a lot about their customers and wants to do their best to keep them safe.”

“I wanted people to realize that when they return things, it’s not always put back on the shelf. They should reconsider before returning items they purchased. I understand some people have to return things, but if it’s not necessary, then I don’t believe they should return it,” she continued

Levine’s video has already accumulated over three million views. Clearly she’s taught us all a lesson. Hopefully, everyone does the right thing and puts the new lesson it into practice.

With Humans Indoors Because Of The Pandemic, Animals Are Going Wild Around The Globe

Things That Matter

With Humans Indoors Because Of The Pandemic, Animals Are Going Wild Around The Globe

Amruta Bale / Flickr

As many of us struggle with the new reality of staying indoors to stay safe, the Earth seems to be enjoying this new found human-free existence. Most of us are connecting with friends and family online; those of us lucky enough to work from home aren’t stuck in traffic anymore; and often overcrowded tourist destinations are free from crowds.

These empty streets, parks, and beaches have resulted in decreased air pollution around the world and animals are returning to habitats they abandoned long ago. Despite the ongoing health crisis and uncertainty we all face, the idea that the Earth is getting a chance to heal itself a bit during all this craziness is a small sliver of hope.

Air pollution is down by record numbers across the globe.

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the global environment. Satellite images from regions across the world show a dramatic decrease in pollution. For the first time in more than 30 years, towns and villages across India have a panoramic view of the Himalaya Mountains.

The last time that cities in the state of Punjab, like Jalandhar, saw the Himalayan Mountains was about 30 years ago.

National Public Radio (NPR) reported that the concentration of fine particulate matter in the air had dramatically dropped since Modi first imposed the countrywide lockdown in March. The Air Quality Index fell as low as 45 late in the month, when a normal value in late March is around 160. India’s central pollution control board reported that a total of 85 cities in India showed improvement just one week after the lockdown.

In China, lockdowns and other measures resulted in a 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions, which one Earth systems scientist estimated may have saved at least 77,000 lives over two months.

Even LA, a city notorious for air pollution, has benefited from the state’s stay-at-home order.

Credit: Reddit / KnowNothingWiseGuy

The mental image many people have of the Los Angeles skyline is one obscured by smog, with thick air pollution hanging over its downtown buildings. But with the city – and the entire state of California – under stay-at-home orders to stem the deadly outbreak of coronavirus, something dramatic has happened to the air in LA.

On Tuesday, LA saw some of the cleanest air of any major city in the world, according to IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company which also monitors pollution levels in cities around the globe. And beginning in early March of this year, EPA air quality data shows that the city of Angels experienced its longest stretch of “good” air quality since at least 1995.

Meanwhile, wild animals are starting to take advantage of the lack of humans overcrowding their habitats.

Mexico’s Oaxacan coastline is home to La Ventanilla Beach, a popular tourist spot. The ecotourism destination is home to a lagoon in which the crocodiles normally spend most of their time, avoiding visitors who come from nearby Mazunte, Zipolite, Puerto Escondido and other destinations to snap photos of them from tour boats.

But when the tourists are away, the crocs will play, and a photo of five large reptiles enjoying the otherwise empty beach made the rounds on social media.

Mexico’s federal government closed all beaches in early April to prevent people from gathering in groups and further spreading the coronavirus. Since then there have been a number of observations of wildlife reclaiming spaces they previously avoided due to human presence.

There have also been reports of jaguars and leatherback sea turtles re-entering spaces in Cancún from which human activity had kept them away for decades.

Videos have captured the animals in Quintana Roo, where the popular resorts of Cancun and Riviera Maya are located. One video, which has been watched 120,000 times on Facebook, shows a huge crocodile swimming along a canal between balconies. The people filming express their shock at the animal as he swims past without stopping for the people watching him.

Another video captured a jaguar roaming the streets of Tulum. According to local media, the big cat was spotted near the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa.

A leatherback sea turtle was even caught laying 112 eggs on the beach in front of a luxury hotel in Cancun. Alfredo Arellano, secretary of ecology and environment of the state of Quintana Roo, said the turtle sighting was “very unusual”.

He explained: “On an average, we only have one leatherback turtle nesting per year in the entire state and the nesting season doesn’t start until May.”

Meanwhile, in California, wild animals are being seen in record numbers across the state’s national parks.

According to SFGate, an employee from Yosemite National Park claims that since the park closed to the public in late March, the sightings of large animals including bears, bobcats, and coyotes have gone up fourfold. 

“It’s not like [bears] aren’t usually here,” Yosemite employee Dane Peterson tells SFGate, “it’s that they usually hang back at the edges, or move in the shadows.”

Meanwhile, in the UK, the Washington Post reports that a tribe of goats overtook the streets of Wales. Video taken by resident Andrew Stuart shows the animals nonchalantly roaming the empty streets and helping themselves to a meal of hedges and flower gardens.