World’s oldest tortoise, Jonathan, turns 190 years old on St Helena island

Meet 190-year-old Jonathan who has lived through TWO World Wars, the rise and fall of the British Empire and 25 US presidents (making this tortoise the oldest living animal ever)

  • The world’s oldest tortoise turned 190 years old Seychelles Giant Tortoise is the
  • Jonathan the Seychelles Giant Tortoise has out lasted two world wars
  • He has lived on St Helena’s island in South Atlantic Ocean since 1882
  • There will be a three-day party for him at his home to celebrate

The world’s oldest tortoise, who survived two world wars, turned 190 years old and his whole island will celebrate for three days to mark his milestone.

Jonathan the Seychelles Giant Tortoise was officially named the oldest tortoise ever to existed after out living the rise and fall of the British Empire and the fall of 25 US presidents.

He has lived on St Helena’s island in the South Atlantic Ocean since 1882 and locals will be celebrating for three days to mark the milestone. 

He hatched in the Georgian era and is the oldest known living land animal on Earth and the oldest chelonian ever recorded.

Jonathon has had help keeping clean and healthy from the island's retired vet Joe Hollins

Jonathon has had help keeping clean and healthy from the island’s retired vet Joe Hollins

Jonathan’s age is estimated but shell measurements documented from a photograph taken shortly after his arrival to St Helena show he was fully mature and at least 50 years old when he arrived from Seychelles. 

Joe Hollins has helped look after Jonathan since he became St Helena’s vet.

Retired vet, Mr Hollins, said: ‘When you think, if he was hatched in 1832 – the Georgian era – my goodness, the changes in the world.

‘The world wars, the rise and fall of the British Empire, the many governors, kings and queens that have passed, it’s quite extraordinary.

‘And he’s just been here, enjoying himself.’

At the start of 2022 Jonathan achieved the Guinness World Records title for the world’s oldest living land animal and this month, he has also been named as the oldest tortoise ever.

He has lived on St Helena's island in the South Atlantic Ocean since 1882 and locals will be celebrating for three days to mark the milestone

He has lived on St Helena’s island in the South Atlantic Ocean since 1882 and locals will be celebrating for three days to mark the milestone

Jonathan has spent the majority of his life on the British Overseas Territory, one of the world’s most remote islands.

He lives in the grounds of Plantation House alongside three much younger tortoises called David, Emma and Fred.

He has witnessed more than 35 governors come and go from Plantation House and has seen the island introduce radio, telephones, TVs, internet, cars and an airport.

Mr Hollins said it has been a ‘privilege’ to look after the elderly animal, who he described as ‘magnificent’.

‘I do think he’s fabulous actually, he’s a great animal,’ he said.

‘And as a vet – what greater privilege is there than to be looking after the oldest known living land animal in the world? I mean, how often does that happen?

‘It is such a privilege to be able to care for this magnificent animal.’

To celebrate his 190th birthday, residents from across the island will be come together on Friday to honour Jonathan over three days at a birthday party at the Governor’s House.

He lives in the grounds of Plantation House alongside three much younger tortoises called David, Emma and Fred

He lives in the grounds of Plantation House alongside three much younger tortoises called David, Emma and Fred

The locals of St Helena will celebrate all weekend to mark Jonathan's milestone

The locals of St Helena will celebrate all weekend to mark Jonathan’s milestone 

Highlights will include a display of a range of posters celebrating Jonathan’s life, bearing pictures and messages from those who have visited him over the years.

On Saturday, a series of activities honouring his birthday will include a chat with the Governor and his wife as they feed Jonathan his favourite vegetables.

The event will be live streamed online from Plantation House so anyone from across the world can join in with the celebrations.

An animated video and song dedicated to celebrating Jonathan’s life will premiere on Sunday, and he will be given a ‘birthday cake’ – made entirely out of his favourite healthy foods.

A special stamp will also be on sale alongside other memorabilia which islanders will be able to win during novelty tortoise-themed games.

Source

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