This turtle, who has witnessed 25 presidents, is an ancient creature that no longer exists.


This turtle, who has witnessed 25 presidents, is an ancient creature that no longer exists.

The 190th birthday of the world’s oldest tortoise will be celebrated over the course of three days.

The oldest tortoise in the world, Jonathan the Seychelles Giant Tortoise, has been identified as living on St Helena’s island in the South Atlantic Ocean since 1882.

He is the oldest chelonian ever discovered and the oldest known live land animal on Earth. He was born in the Georgian era.

Although Jonathan’s age is just approximated, shell measurements derived from a photo taken soon after his arrival in St. Helena indicate that he was completely mature and at least 50 years old when he left the Seychelles.

Since becoming St Helena’s veterinarian, Joe Hollins has assisted in caring for Jonathan.

When you consider that he was born in 1832, during the Georgian era, my goodness, the changes in the world, said retired veterinarian Mr. Hollins.

“It’s quite extraordinary,” said the speaker, “the world wars, the expansion and decline of the British Empire, the numerous governors, kings, and queens who have reigned.”

And he’s just been hanging around here, having fun.

Jonathan was officially recognised as the oldest living land animal at the beginning of 2022, and just last month, he was also recognised as the oldest tortoise ever.

On the British Overseas Territory, one of the most isolated islands in the world, Jonathan has lived the most of his life.

Together with the considerably younger David, Emma, and Fred tortoises, he resides in the Plantation House grounds.

In addition to seeing the island adopt radio, telephones, TVs, the internet, cars, and an airport, he has watched more than 35 governors arrive and depart from Plantation House.

Taking care of the senior animal, which Mr. Hollins called “magnificent,” has been a “privilege,” he said.

“I really do think he’s fantastic; what an animal,”

What greater honour can a veterinarian have than to care for the oldest known live land animal in the world? How frequently does that occur, really?

Being able to look after this wonderful animal is such a blessing.

On Friday, locals from all over the island will gather together to recognise Jonathan over the course of three days during a birthday bash at the Governor’s House.

A display of several posters honouring Jonathan’s life, displaying images and notes from those who have visited him over the years, will be one of the highlights.

The Governor and his wife will converse with Jonathan as they feed him his favourite food on Saturday as part of a series of events celebrating his birthday.

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