Jonathan the giant tortoise takes his time for his 190th birthday


Jonathan the giant tortoise is the oldest living land animal on Earth (Picture: PA)

A giant tortoise that lived through two world wars celebrates its 190th birthday.

Jonathan the Seychelles giant tortoise is the oldest known living land mammal on Earth and hatched in the early 1800s.

Since 1882 he has lived on Saint Helena, an island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.

He lives alongside three much younger turtles whose names are David, Emma and Fred.

To celebrate this incredible milestone, islanders have come together to honor Jonathan’s birthday – and the celebrations will continue over the next three days.

The celebrations will include an exhibition of a series of posters celebrating Jonathan’s life, bearing photos and messages from those who have visited him over the years.

On Saturday, a series of activities in honor of his birthday will include a conversation with the Governor and his wife as they feed Jonathan his favorite vegetables.

The event will be streamed live online across the world so everyone can join in the fun.

Jonathan was born in the early 1800s and has gone through centuries of history (Photo: Île Sainte-Hélène/SWNS)

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Jonathan first arrived in Saint Helena in 1882 (Picture: PA)

jonathan the turtle
He will have a three-day birthday party to celebrate this incredible milestone (Picture: PA)

Then on Sunday, an animated video and song dedicated to celebrating Jonathan’s life will premiere and he will receive a ‘birthday cake’ – made entirely of his favorite healthy foods.

A special stamp will also be on sale alongside other souvenirs for islanders to win in new turtle-themed games.

Her age is an estimate based on documented shell measurements from a photo taken shortly after her arrival on Saint Helena.

The photo shows he was fully mature and was at least 50 when he arrived from the Seychelles – although he may be even older.

Joe Hollins cared for Jonathan when he worked as a vet on St. Helena and although he is now retired, he still helps the turtle.


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Joe Hollins proudly looks after Jonathan even during his retirement years (Picture: PA)

jonathan the turtle
Jonathan stands proud on Saint Helena, a place he has called home since 1882 (Picture: PA)

He said: “When you think, if it hatched in 1832 – the Georgian era – my God, 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 having fun.”

This year Jonathan won the Guinness World Records title for the world’s oldest living land animal and this month he was also named the oldest turtle ever.

Joe said it had been a “privilege” to care for the elderly animal, which he described as “beautiful”.

“I think he’s fabulous actually, he’s a great animal,” he said.

“And as a veterinarian, what greater privilege is there than to care for the oldest known living land animal in the world? I mean, how often does this happen?

“It’s such a privilege to be able to care for this magnificent animal.”

On average, the giant tortoise lives between 80 and 120 years.

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