World’s oldest tortoise has seen off two world wars and the British Empire ~ Dec. 2, 2022

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Jonathan the tortoise, who hatched in the Georgian era, is the oldest known living land animal on Earth

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The world’s oldest tortoise has lived through two world wars, witnessed the rise and fall of the British Empire, and has just turned 190 years old.

Jonathan the Seychelles Giant Tortoise hatched in the Georgian era and is the oldest known living land animal on Earth and the oldest chelonian ever recorded.

Born in the early 1800s, Jonathan has lived on St Helena – an island situated in the midst of the South Atlantic Ocean – since 1882.

Jonathan’s age is an estimation 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 in 1882 – although it is likely that he is even older.

Joe Hollins began caring for Jonathan when he worked as the St Helena’s vet and, although now retired, still helps look after the tortoise.

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.

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