Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024

Jonathan, the World’s oldest land dweller, marks another remarkable milestone



Saint Helena’s ancient giant tortoise celebrates his 191st birthday

Image by wirestock on Freepik

Feeling a bit long in the tooth? Spare a thought for Jonathan, the venerable giant tortoise, who recently celebrated yet another birthday, inching ever closer to the remarkable age of 200.

This month, the resilient reptile, who resides on the picturesque island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean, added another year to his extraordinary life. Having weathered the storms of time, Jonathan has borne witness to historical events spanning the US Civil War, both world wars, and the ebb and flow of the Soviet Union.

Outliving presidents, queens, and countless others, Jonathan has indirectly observed the evolution of modern conveniences like sliced bread, the telephone, and the internet. Notably, he hasn’t traversed the lengthy journey alone; for 26 years, he has shared his island abode with a companion, another male tortoise.

Believed to have hatched in 1832, Jonathan arrived on Saint Helena 50 years later. While his exact birthdate remains an estimate, last year, the governor of Saint Helena officially declared 4 December 1832 as Jonathan’s birthday, making him 191 years old this year.

Now residing at the Governor’s house, Jonathan, despite being blind and losing his sense of smell, is still in good health, according to his dedicated vet, Joe Hollins. Hollins expressed optimism that Jonathan might even reach his third century, emphasizing the tortoise’s robust appetite and continued vitality.

Speaking about Jonathan’s lifestyle, Hollins shared, “In spite of losing his sense of smell and being virtually blind from cataracts, his appetite remains keen. He is still being hand-fed once a week with a fortifying helping of fruit and vegetables by a small, dedicated team. This not only supplements his calories but provides those essential drivers of his metabolism: vitamins, minerals, and trace elements.”

With his hearty diet and seemingly content existence, Jonathan may well be on his way to celebrating a remarkable 200th birthday in the not-too-distant future.


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